Yesterday the Obama administration lifted the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, which was instated following the BP oil disaster. The lift comes more than a month before the scheduled end date.
Richard Charter, senior policy advisor for Defenders of Wildlife, released the following statement in response to the moratorium lift.
“It is premature to lift the deepwater drilling moratorium in the Gulf. Although the increased safety and spill response requirements imposed by Interior Secretary Salazar are important, there are still no new measures in place to protect species such as endangered sea turtles and sperm whales, and imperiled bluefin tuna. Before Secretary Salazar approves any applications to resume drilling, potentially opening the Gulf up to future environmental disasters, he must ensure that the potential impacts on wildlife have been fully evaluated and strong measures are in place to protect them.
“The potential resumption of deepwater drilling in the Gulf makes it increasingly critical for Congress to pass legislation that ensures safer operations in any water depth, provides better spill response, lifts the grossly inadequate liability cap currently in place and secures funding for restoration efforts in the Gulf. The Obama administration should push the Senate to act and remain steadfast in its efforts to ensure that there will be no repeats of last summer’s disaster in the Gulf.”
Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar said that offshore oil rigs will not be allowed to resume drilling until operators meet all new federal requirements on safety and spill response.
Photo credit:cc: flickr.com/photos/deepwaterhorizonresponse