For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

A Drilling Moratorium That Isn't

WASHINGTON - DANIEL J. ROHLF
Rohlf, a law professor at Lewis & Clark Law School specializing in environmental issues, states that despite the announcement of a moratorium on offshore oil drilling, the federal regulators are still granting such permits. He said today: "The stated moratorium does not even cover all of the dangerous drilling that caused the problem in the first place. The Minerals Management Service has issued at least 17 permits for new drilling since the BP disaster began. At least four of those are for wells in water over 9,000 feet deep -- nearly twice as deep at the Deepwater Horizon well that is still spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

"The Minerals Management Service doesn't even do a required environmental impact assessment before allowing deep sea drilling. Instead, the agency issues a 'categorical exclusion' from legal requirements because industry and the agency claim the chance for environmental damage is so remote that it's not worth considering. The Minerals Management Service is arguably violating a host of environmental laws. The MMS was embroiled in a scandal two years ago involving sex and taking drugs with oil industry people, and it appears that attempts at reforming the agency into one that complies with the law did not succeed."

Background: See "Despite Moratorium, Drilling Projects Move Ahead"

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