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Greenpeace Calls for Deep Sea Drilling Ban as Commission Shakes Up Oil Rules
WASHINGTON - October 13 - New deep sea oil operations should be banned as the only sure way of preventing a Deepwater Horizon-like spill in Europe, Greenpeace said in response to today’s shake-up of offshore drilling rules by the European Commission.
Greenpeace research, published next week, will show that deep sea drilling, tar sands and other dirty and dangerous extraction methods would not be needed if the EU set better fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles.
transport policy advisor Franziska Achterberg said: “The safest way to guard against a
deepwater disaster in Europe is not to go there in the first
place. This kind of drilling is almost certain to create a
Deepwater Horizon-like spill for Europe no matter how tight
the rules. Regulators will always be playing catch-up as the
industry chases after ever dirtier and more dangerous fuel
reserves to keep up with demand. Deep water drilling should be
banned. We simply don’t need it if we boost fuel efficiency.
"Disappointingly, on the day after the US ended its deep sea drilling moratorium, Commissioner Oettinger has now distanced himself from his call earlier call for a moratorium and suspension of some of Europe's riskier projects.”
The Commission proposes an overhaul of EU legislation to plug regulatory gaps and to position the EU Maritime Safety Agency to oversee national regulators’ enforcement of existing rules. A separate proposal to strengthen the EU’s disaster response is announced for later this year. Legislative proposals could come “by Spring 2011”, according to the Communication.
The Commission proposes an EU-wide licencing scheme setting minimum requirements for operators, including on technical and financial capability to deal with accidents. It argues that a national fragmented approach would slow down disaster response, leave areas of legal uncertainty and penalise EU countries with higher standards because of the effects of spills in countries with low standards.