First Post-Spill Offshore Oil Well Approved

Publication: U.S. News & World Report

Author: Jessica Rettig


03/08/2011 - Stemming from the instability in the Middle East, the average price for regular gasoline has risen nearly 40 cents since a month ago, from $3.12 to $3.52, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. Critics nationwide are blaming the president and his administration for the sticker shock they're feeling at the gas pumps. However, as oil and gas prices rise worldwide, the administration remains under pressure from both the oil industry and environmentalists about how to manage the nation's own energy resources.

Last week, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement approved the first deepwater drilling permit since the explosion and oil spill at BP's well last April. For the oil industry, which had been complaining about the bureau's slow permitting rate following last year's drilling moratorium that ended October 12, the approval of Noble Energy's Santiago well, located 70 miles off the coast of Venice, La., marked a start in the right direction. However, environmentalists, who remain concerned about the impact of potential oil spills on the Gulf of Mexico, say there's still much rulemaking to be done. As several permits remain in queue for approval, the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management face political and legal pressure to please both sides--pressure that only seems to rise alongside the world's oil prices.

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In the department's other ear, environmentalists are urging a slower process. According to Marilyn Heiman, director of the Offshore Energy Reform Project at the Pew Environment Group, environmentalists are mostly pleased with the "careful" pace that Interior has taken so far, but would like to see more permanent, standardized spill-response regulations created for all wells before more permits are approved.

Read the full article First Post-Spill Offshore Oil Well Approved on the U.S. News & World Report Web site.

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