The President Obama administration has lifted the ban on deep-water drilling on Tuesday, October 12. The moratorium, or suspension of activity, for the drilling is no longer in affect and the idle oil rigs along the Gulf of Mexico can start up again. The Interior Secretary Ken Salazar promote the decision with claims that the deep-water drilling industry is focused on reducing further risks and the actual drilling will resume after federal government reviews drilling proposals. Administration officials believe the drilling to take place before the end of the year, but others claim it could be on hold until after 2011. Although the exact resumption date is uncertain, many consider the administration to be walking a political tightrope, seeking to assuage Gulf Coast voters and lawmakers worried about economic damage while also trying to avoid alienating environmentalists and offshore drilling foes three weeks before Election Day.
The Environmentalists response to the lifting of the ban with Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radfords Media released announcement:
"This is pure politics of the most cynical kind. It is all about the election season, not safety and environmental concerns. The White House wants us to believe that they have solved all the dangers of offshore drilling and we can return to business as usual. It is a false promise, if not a big lie.
"Scientists haven't even assessed the full ecological impact of the BP disaster and yet the government is in a rush to allow oil companies to get back to drilling. It is irresponsible to say the least, reckless at worst.
"Oil is still washing up on the Gulf coast and we are just beginning to understand the full impacts of the oil disaster. However, the government wants us to believe that a few technical and bureaucratic fixes add up to what they call a "gold standard" for dangerous offshore drilling.
"Only the oil industry wants this disaster to 'go away' more than the White House, which recklessly opened new areas to offshore drilling some three weeks before the BP blowout occurred on April 20, 2010. We again see how much power the oil industry wields over our government.
"The American Petroleum Institute will be breathing a sigh of relief, while most people are scratching their heads and wondering what on Earth the Obama team is thinking."
While the Obama Administration is concerning themselves with reducing risk permits for deep-water drilling, Radford is onboard Greenpeaces ship, The Arctic Sunrise and is initialing an independent research expedition, investigating the impacts of the Gulf oil spill. While many are supporting the new job opportunity once more with drilling, others are outraged at the fast return of deep-water drilling, especially after the detrimental Gulf spill. Is this a positive move on the Administrations part? The verdict is still out.