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Administration Expected to Lift Deepwater Drilling Moratorium This Week

The White House is expected to lift a moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico by the end of the week, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters this morning.

The moratorium was imposed in the aftermath of the BP oil spill, which dumped 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The administration has issued new offshore drilling rules as a result of the spill, and Michael Bromwich, head of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, is putting the finishing touches on a report on the moratorium that will determine when and how the administration will lift the drilling ban.

Gulf Coast lawmakers are vehemently opposed to the moratorium, arguing that it adds an additional layer of economic hardship on the already-hurting region. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) put a hold on Jack Lew, President Obama’s nominee to head the White House Office of Management and Budget over the moratorium.

The administration has said that drilling will not immediately resume after the moratorium is lifted as companies will need to comply with new drilling rules. Calls to the White House and the Interior Department were not immediately returned.

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