Jane Van Ryan
Posted June 24, 2010
BP reinstalled the cap on the blowout preventer (BOP) at the leaking Macondo well last evening, and it began capturing oil and gas a short time later. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says the amount of oil being collected could rise to about 53,000 barrels a day after a third containment device arrives next Tuesday.
Along the Gulf Coast shoreline, responders continue to mop up the drifting oil as the debate continues over deepwater drilling and coastal protection:
- The Wall Street Journal reports today that BP and other major oil companies based their spill response plans on U.S. government projections that provided low odds of oil reaching shore. The projections are based on government models that the companies are required to use. The models assume that most of the oil from a large spill--even one larger than the current spill--would evaporate and be broken up by waves or weather.
- Administration officials on Tuesday ordered Louisiana officials to stop building sand berms aimed at protecting the state's marshes. The U.S. Interior Department said the state was dredging sand from a fragile area. Gov. Bobby Jindal in a news conference said the state didn't "have time for red tape and bureaucracy," and he called "on the federal government to get out of the way." (The Wall Street Journal)
- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told lawmakers yesterday he will issue a new deepwater drilling ban that addresses the differences that exist between wells where the reservoir pressures are known versus exploratory wells. Yesterday the administration's blanket moratorium was overturned.
- The U.S. Justice Department has asked a judge to delay the court ruling overturning the administration's deepwater drilling moratorium. The government says the delay is necessary to eliminate the risk of another drilling accident while new safety equipment standards and procedures are considered. (AP)
Until the Deepwater Horizon accident, offshore drilling in deepwater had an exemplary record. Between 2000 and 2008, 2,259 deepwater wells were drilled safely in U.S. waters. Imposing a new moratorium will do nothing to increase safety or improve industry procedures. But it could have a disastrous impact on the Gulf Coast economy and destroy thousands of jobs in the very region that already is suffering from the spill.
Update on June 24, 2010: Judge Martin Feldman today denied the administration's request for a stay on his ruling overturning the drilling freeze. The administration can petition the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to delay the ruling.
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