Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued today a second deepwater drilling moratorium, based on new evidence about drilling safety following a recent court decision that found the administration’s original ban to be “capricious and arbitrary.”
The moratorium comes as the massive BP oil spill has been gushing thousands of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico daily for more than 80 days.
According to an Interior Department press release, the moratorium, or “suspensions,” will last until Nov. 30,2010, “or until such earlier time that the Secretary determines that deep water drilling operations can proceed safely.”
The press release continues:
“Moreover, the new decision by the Secretary establishes a process through which BOEM will gather and analyze new information from the public, experts, stakeholders, and the industry on safety and response issues, which could potentially provide the basis for identifying conditions for resuming certain deepwater drilling activities. In addition, the May 28 moratorium proscribed drilling based on specific water depths; the new decision does not suspend activities based on water depth, but on the basis of the drilling configurations and technologies”
The second moratorium was issued just days after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals let stand a June decisions by a federal judge to overturn the ban, arguing that the Obama administration did not offer adequate justification.
*Update: *Here’s the Interior Department’s memorandum in full: