Lawsuit Filed to Stop 49 Dangerous Gulf of Mexico Drilling Projects

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Miyoko Sakashita, (415) 632-5308, miyoko@biologicaldiversity.org

Lawsuit Filed to Stop 49 Dangerous Gulf of Mexico Drilling Projects

Minerals Management Service Excluded All From Environmental Review

NEW ORLEANS, La. - The
Center for Biological Diversity
today filed suit against Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Minerals

Management Service to strike down the agency's exemption of 49 Gulf of
Mexico drilling projects from all environmental
review. The suit was filed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New
Orleans.

Just
like
BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling plan,
all 49 plans in today's suit state that no environmental review is
necessary
because there is essentially no chance of a large oil spill, and if a
spill were
to occur, it would be quickly cleaned up with no lasting
damage.

"Secretary

Salazar continues to exercise extremely poor judgment in approving these
plans
without meaningful environmental review," said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans
director
at the Center. "He seems to have learned nothing from the oil pouring
out into
the Gulf of Mexico. Since Salazar is unwilling
to shut down the use of environmental waivers that even the president
has
denounced, we are asking the courts to do so."

All
drilling
in the 49 plans would occur
off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, and
Mississippi.
These coastal areas provide habitat for an array of imperiled species
including
the Kemp's Ridley and leatherback
sea turtles
, the sperm whale, piping
plover
, gulf sturgeon, and bluefin
tuna
- and are the very same areas hurt by BP's April 20th Deepwater
Horizon
oil spill. 

19 of
the
plans were exempted from environmental review after BP's Deepwater
Horizon
exploded on April 20.
Many are deep or ultra-deep-water drilling operations, including plans
by
Petrobas to drill at 7,150 feet and Anadarko to drill at more than 9,000

feet.

The
Center
is represented in the suit by Tulane Environmental Law Clinic.

The
Center has also filed a lawsuit in district court in D.C. challenging
the policy
underlying the decisions to exempt Gulf drilling from environmental
review and
has initiated a legal action to require compliance with marine mammal
and
endangered species protection laws that have also been ignored in the
Gulf.

Map
available at http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/public_lands/energy/dirty_energy_development/oil_and_gas/gulf_oil_spill/images/approved_Gulf_projects_1100.jpg

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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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