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White House Lifts Oil Drilling Moratorium

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By Jason Beahm on October 13, 2010 12:53 PM

The BP oil spill is officially old news.

What was once the top story for months is now largely seen as a footnote in an already challenging year. Now comes the announcement that the Obama administration has lifted the moratorium on deep water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The moratorium is being terminated about 7 weeks earlier than the original plan of November 30. The moratorium came in the wake of the massive BP oil spill that killed 11 and unleashed millions of crude oil into the ocean.

The White House agreed to lift the ban in light of new safety standards designed to make a similar spill unlikely. The general public was in favor of the oil drilling moratorium, but according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the U.S. needs oil and gas from the Gulf Coast, it was important to eventually end the moratorium.

Businesses and lawmakers in the Gulf area naturally did not take kindly to the federal restrictions. According to a federal report, it may have cost between 8,000 and 12,000 temporary jobs. Under the new rules, oil companies must provide additional verification in order to get permits as well as have specific crisis plans in place for oil spills, said Salazar.

Of course not everyone was utterly enamored by the news. Not if the words of David Guest, attorney for Earthjustice, were any indication: "[deep water drilling] is intrinsically dangerous, as demonstrated by the BP spill, and it's surprising the federal government thinks it has so quickly resolved all the problems that contributed to the spill," Guest said to the USA TODAY.

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