Well, you just knew this was comming.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar reissued a moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling Monday, after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the White House’s appeal of a lower court decision to halt the drilling ban.
The reinstated ban will “ protect communities, coasts, and wildlife as oil and gas companies implement adequate safety measures to reduce the risks associated with deepwater drilling operations and to ensure they are prepared for blowouts and oil spills,” wrote the Interior Department in a statement.
The ban won’t apply to shallow water drilling activities, which, the department said, “ do not present the same type or level of risks as deepwater drilling operations can continue to move forward if operators are in compliance with all safety and environmental requirements, including the safety and environmental requirements implemented through recent Notices to Lessees.”
The new ban will be in effect until November 30 or until such time as Salazar deems that drilling can move forward safely, the department said.
It is supported, said a departent statement by an “extensive record” indicating that the operations “would pose a threat of serious, irreparable, or immediate harm or damage to the marine, coastal, and human environment.”
The delay, it said, “would allow time for the implementation of new safety reforms aimed at preventing further drilling accidents.”
Administration allies (read syncophatic nitwits) hailed the reinstatement of the ban Monday and said that it would not harm the Gulf’s economy. “This moratorium will reduce oil spill risk while the Gulf will continue to produce oil,” said Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who chairs the House Energy panel’s subcommittee on Energy and the Environment. “As new laws and safety measures are put into place on these few dozen rigs, 97 percent of the manned rigs in the Gulf will still be allowed to work,” he said.
Meanwhile, unnoticed by asshat Markey, one drilling rig has already left the Gulf headed for Egypt where there is no moratorium.