Dept. of Interior Releases Tougher Drilling Regulations

Environment New York

Recently, Secretary of Interior Salazar and Assistant Secretary Hayes released new regulations designed to make offshore drilling safer in very specific ways and to focus management on improving its safety and environmental record.  Michael Gravitz, Federal Oceans Advocate for Environment New York, commented:

“Today’s announcements from Department of Interior are a good step forward, but only one step, in making the offshore drilling industry safer after the BP oil spill in the Gulf. The next critical step in making our oceans and beaches safer from drilling is to declare all new areas off limits for drilling.

“The safest drilling of new places like the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, eastern Gulf of Mexico or the Arctic is no drilling at all.

“Imagine if a BP sized oil spill happened off the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, a place that’s been considered for leasing.  It could cover the coast for 600 miles all the way up to Cape Cod; that’s how much coast and marsh the BP spill polluted in the Gulf.

“Rather than lining the Atlantic with drilling rigs, we should take advantage of the huge potential for offshore wind in our oceans.  A recent report shows how wind farms off the Atlantic coast, using only a narrow band in shallow water, could produce enough electricity to run over 40 million homes or power over 100 million electric vehicles, almost half of the light duty vehicles in the U.S. Offshore wind is a much better way to use our oceans for energy production.  Long after any oil or gas in the Atlantic is gone, the wind turbines will be turning and making electricity for nearby cities.”