Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oil Moratorium

Hooray for the President and Secretary Salazar for reinstituting the offshore oil moratorium for the next five years. One of the things the Secretary said in his press conference was something that my former employer (southern environmental law center) had emphasized: the oil and gas companies have thousands of leases that they have not yet exercised. There's no need to open up new areas right now, especially as we are still reeling from the results of the BP oil spill in the Gulf.

An October 12, 2010 Washington Post article showed how politics drove the opening of the mid- and south-Atlantic to oil drilling during the Obama Administration. It also repeated some of the misconceptions that the President and the Secretary had about the risks of offshore oil. For example, they had stated categorically that no oil had been spilled from rigs during severe weather events. Yet the Department of Homeland Security and NOAA had reported oil spills from rigs during Katrina and Rita -- Approximately 8 million gallons of spilled oil in comparison to 11 million gallons spilled during the Exxon Valdez.

The President did the right thing, although I'm sure we'll hear more from the oil and gas industry in the next Congress. Sphere: Related Content

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