Environmental groups says feds glossed over potential risks in re-authorizing deepwater drilling
By Summit Voice
The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit Friday seeking reinstatement of the recently lifted moratorium until the Interior Department conducts a comprehensive analysis of its risks to wildlife and the environment.
The lawsuit was announced just as the Interior Department said it’s considering its first deepwater drilling permit since the ban was lifted. The lawsuit seeks enforcement of the National Environmental Policy Act, by specifically requiring the Interior Department to prepare an environmental impact statement, an in-depth study that would disclose all the potential impacts of deepwater drilling.
Salazar announced a stringent new set of safety regulations for drilling when he lifted the moratorium, but the Center for Biological diversity is questioning whether the rules adequately protect the human and natural environment. The environmental analysis prepared by the feds glosses over the potential risks.
“It is astonishing that, despite the BP spill’s overwhelming toll on the Gulf of Mexico and its wildlife, Secretary Salazar lifted the moratorium by concluding there are no significant environmental effects from drilling,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director of the Center. “Salazar is repeating the same tragic mistakes that led to the massive spill in the Gulf by discounting the risks of drilling for oil thousands of feet underwater.”
According to Sakashita, the BP spill has shown that oil drilling can, and does, have significant impacts. The Deepwater Horizon tragedy killed 11 people and spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Since the spill began, more than 6,000 oiled birds and hundreds of dead sea turtles and marine mammals have been collected.
“We can no longer afford to have our government simply taking the oil industry at its word when it comes to ensuring the safety of people and the environment. Offshore drilling is a dangerous business, and Salazar’s Interior Department needs to take that threat seriously,” said Sakashita.
In lifting the moratorium, Salazar produced an environmental assessment, finding that there is no possibility of significant environmental effects from drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The suspended drilling activities, which may now resume, evaded environmental review just like the BP exploration plan.
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, Summit County Colorado Tagged: | Center for Biological Diversity, Deep water drilling ban lawsuit, Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico, Ken Salazar, National Environmental Policy Act