Jul 12, 2010 3:12 PM by Melissa Canone
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration will issue a new
revised moratorium on offshore drilling Monday, two administration
officials told The Associated Press.
Both officials requested anonymity because they were not
authorized to speak publicly ahead of the official announcement.
Last week, a federal appeals court rejected the government's
effort to restore its initial offshore deep-water drilling
moratorium, which halted the approval of any new permits for
deep-water projects and suspended drilling on 33 exploratory wells.
That moratorium, issued following the catastrophic Gulf oil spill
in April, was first rejected last month by U.S. District Judge
"If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to
say all are?" Feldman asked. "Are all airplanes a danger because
one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines?
That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing."
He said the moratorium "seems to assume that because one rig
failed and although no one yet fully knows why, all companies and
rigs drilling new wells over 500 feet also universally present an
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said at the time that he would
issue a new deep-water drilling moratorium that could be refined to
reflect offshore conditions and allow drilling in areas where
reserves and risks are known rather than in exploratory reservoirs.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Monday that
the Interior Department "will take into account what the judge
laid out in his initial ruling at the district court level."
"The president has and continues to believe that we have to be
careful with what we're doing, given the uncertainty about what
happened 84 days ago," Gibbs said. "We know that that is not
without some economic consequences to the region, but it's
imperative that we have a sense of what happened before we continue
to do this again."
In its appeal, the Interior Department asked the 5th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals to let the temporary ban stand until it
ruled on the merits of the case.
Several companies that ferry people and supplies and provide
other services to offshore rigs argued that the moratorium was
arbitrarily imposed following the April 20 explosion, which killed
11 workers and blew out a well 5,000 feet under water.