Salazar: Moratorium Will End When We’ve Reduced Drilling Risks
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made no announcements today about the Obama administration’s deepwater drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico, despite expectations by many observers. Salazar said Michael Bromwich, head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, will deliver him a report on the moratorium “soon.” Bromwich told the national oil spill commission earlier this week that he would release a report on the moratorium this week.
Salazar, speaking at the Woodrow Wilson International Center Scholars, said the moratorium was “vital to protect the Gulf coast.” He acknowledged the criticism of the moratorium (Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is blocking the administration’s nominee for head of the Office of Management and Budget until the moratorium is overturned), but he said the moratorium is important to determine how best to remake the offshore drilling industry to ensure safety is prioritized.
“We will only lift the moratorium when I, as Secretary of the Interior, am comfortable that we have significantly reduced” the risks associated with drilling, he said, while acknowledging that “we still need” oil and natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico.