Oil spill commission questions drilling moratorium

President Barack Obama’s oil spill commission is questioning the administration on the drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico:

The co-chairmen of a presidential commission said Tuesday that moving testimony about the economic damage caused by President Obama’s drilling moratorium has convinced them to press the issue.

In fact, one of the co-chairs, former Environmental Protection Agency chief William Reilly, said he can’t understand why more hasn’t been done to shorten the moratorium, which has been the subject of a federal court battle and now extends through Nov. 30.

“I come to this experience with a much greater sense of the economic dislocation being experienced here than I had three days ago” before the commission began hearings in New Orleans, Reilly said at a midday news conference. “It’s not clear for me why it should take so long to reassure oneself about (safety) considerations on those rigs.”
[Former Democatic Sen. Bob] Graham chimed in, too, saying he was disturbed by a “disconnect between Washington and the Gulf region about the sense of urgency needed.” He said that if the moratorium is a “timeout” to gather information and assurances that drilling can continue, “it’s a legitimate question to ask what we’re doing to inform ourselves, establish new standards and make a quick judgment.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) isn’t thrilled about the moratorium:

“About an hour ago, Secretary Salazar announced ‘new deepwater drilling suspensions.’ Unfortunately, this new plan does not address many of the concerns expressed by the experts, the court system, and families and businesses along the Gulf Coast.

Obama Administration tries again on oil drilling ban

Despite an injunction issued last month against off-shore drilling moratorium, the Department of the Interior will issue an order to “suspend” deepwater drilling:

While describing the new step as a suspension, rather than a moratorium like the original ban issued in May in the wake of the Gulf oil disaster, the new order expands the drilling operations covered to include those off California in what is called the Pacific region. The original moratorium was limited to deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

A federal judge threw out the initial six-month ban, and last week, a federal appeals panel rejected the government’s request to overturn the lower court judge’s decision.

Obama administration officials have repeatedly indicated their intention to reinstate the moratorium since the initial ruling.

“The new suspensions are supported by an extensive record of existing and new information indicating that allowing the deepwater drilling operations that will be suspended would pose a threat of serious, irreparable, or immediate harm or damage to the marine, coastal, and human environment,” an Interior Department statement said.

The moratorium is much broader this time around, according to news reports, applying to any floating drilling platform, not rigs drilling at certain depths.

The Heritage Foundation lays out the economic consequences of such action, which the Obama Administration does not deny, as told by the brief filed by the State of Louisiana in the original injuction request:

British Petroleum Kills Aquaman

Destroying an eco-region isn’t enough, but now those bastards have sunk to a new low. Who will talk to fish now?


There’s more of this stuff over at the fake BP PR twitter account. Thanks to Techland for this moment of brilliance.

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