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Obama Re-opens Deepwater Drilling

The Obama administration announced yesterday the lifting of the 4-month-old moratorium on deep-water (i.e., 500 ft) offshore drilling. The decision to end the moratorium comes before final safety studies on the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico have been completed. According to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, recently strengthened rules and improved oversight have reduced risks to a point where offshore drilling can be allowed to resume. However, major questions remain about the causes of the BP disaster and whether future deepwater drilling activities will sufficiently protect human safety and the environment. Specifically, it remains unclear why the Macondo well blowout preventer failed, causing the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Commented Pete Stauffer, Ocean Ecosystem Program Manager for the Surfrider Foundation, "We find it troubling that the Obama Administration is already opening up deepwater drilling before final sudies from the President’s Oil Spill Commission, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Coast Guard/ BOEM Investigation have been completed." The Surfrider Foundation remains opposed to any new offshore oil drilling as our nation’s oceans, waves and beaches are vital recreational, economic and ecological resources that will be polluted by an increase in offshore drilling.