The Obama administration said Tuesday that it is lifting a moratorium on deep water oil drilling imposed after the Deepwater Horizon spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
The administration has been under pressure from business leaders and others to lift the six-month ban due to its economic impact. The moratorium was set to expire Nov. 30.
Drilling is not expected to resume immediately. Michael Bromwich, head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, said it would take “at least a couple of weeks” after the ban is lifted before permits are approved, the AP reports.
The New York Times quotes Ken Salazar on the announcement:
“We have made and continue to make significant progress in reducing the risks associated with deepwater drilling,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters on a conference call. Therefore, he said, “I have decided that it is now appropriate to lift the suspension on deepwater drilling for those operators that are able to clear the higher bar that we have set.”
In June, the NewsHour explored the debate over the offshore drilling ban – who’s for it, who’s against it, and why.