05/29/2010 - Gulf Coast lawmakers voiced mixed reactions Friday to the administration's six-month ban on new deep-water drilling permits, with some calling it a "knee-jerk" reaction and others calling it a necessary precaution.
But most applauded the administration's move to lift a ban on drilling in shallow water. They said those operations, which mostly tap natural gas deposits, pose fewer risks than operations in deep water and are essential to the region's economy.
"Thousands of Louisiana jobs were at issue," GOP Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana said.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama announced a six-month moratorium on new deep-water drilling permits and a continued ban on 33 deep-water drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The administration also canceled a lease sale in the western part of Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia. Exploratory drilling in the Arctic also has been suspended.
All new drilling, no matter how deep the water, should be suspended until the commission's report is complete and new standards are adopted, said Marilyn Heiman of the Pew Environment Group, a nonprofit research group.
"All new drilling should be suspended until... we know how to prevent a spill like that from happening again," Heiman said.
Read the full article, Gulf Coast Lawmakers Differ on Drilling Bans, on the Montgomery Advertiser's Web site.
The Pew Environment Group’s offshore energy reform work is now a part of Pew’s Arctic Ocean Program.