US is Lifting Deep-Water Oil Drilling Ban
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement that drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet can resume, so long as rig operators can demonstrate they comply with new safety regulations imposed since the April 20 Deepwater Horizon oil-rig explosion that began the three-month Gulf oil spill.
Since this is purely an election-year sop to the business community, it is going to interesting to watch how the government is going to certify these rigs in a manner that is both timely and safe.
As the BP oil spill disaster has proven, unregulated industry will do whatever is necessary to reduce their costs, including ignoring or eliminating safety features. When a government agency/watchdog becomes cozy with industry, it will take more than a simple name change to change business as usual. Issuing a secretarial order changing the name of an agency from the Minerals Management Service to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement does not increase environmental protection. It obfuscates the reality that big business is in charge of regulation.