The 2012-2017 Offshore Oil and Gas Program released today by the Obama Administration's Department of Interior will allow no drilling offshore in the Atlantic and Pacific, but opens up the Central and Western Gulf by making all un-leased acreage available for drilling.
“The administration’s new five-year plan is good news for Atlantic coastal states, especially Virginia and Florida. However, the Arctic and the Gulf are still in harm’s way,” said Jacqueline Savitz, Oceana senior campaign director. “As we watch the BP oil continue to foul the Gulf of Mexico, it’s crystal clear that fundamental, industry-wide safety and response failures must be addressed before moving forward with such an aggressive program in the Gulf. The economy and health of the Gulf may not survive the next disaster,” Savitz added.
Oceana is grateful to the Obama Administration for upholding its commitment to protect marine ecosystems in the Atlantic, Pacific and the areas of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico under Congressional moratorium. But Oceana has serious concerns about the rapid pace and extent of leasing planned for the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico. While the Administration argues it has acted to improve drilling safety, Oceana’s recent detailed analysis of the new regulations shows very little has changed, and that there are still worrisome weaknesses that could lead to another spill.
Oceana’s new analysis, entitled False Sense of Safety, highlights critical gaps in offshore drilling safety, especially related to deepwater and ultra deepwater drilling, which will take place in Central and Western Gulf waters.
False Sense of Safety is available here.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 500,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.