Drilling Moratorium, Take Two

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


After its first attempt to impose a moratorium on new deepwater drilling lost in federal court last month and then on an appeal last week, the Obama administration took another stab at blocking new drilling Tuesday.

The administration’s latest moratorium would allow some operations to continue—if drillers can certify that there are adequate plans in place to control a well, that the blowout preventer on the well is functioning properly, and that the company has the “ability to respond effectively to a potential oil spill.”

The administration’s first moratorium shut down 33 exploratory drilling operations in the deepwater. In practice, the new moratorium would likely keep those operations on hold for now; federal regulators have until the end of August to come up with new guidelines that will clarify what companies will have to do to get the green light. The Department of Interior’s statements today indicated that they expect most operations will remain on hold through the end of November, the original expiration date for the moratorium. “Like the deepwater drilling moratorium lifted by the District Court on June 22, the deepwater drilling suspensions ordered today apply to most deepwater drilling activities and could last through Nov. 30,” the agency said.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar indicated that he believes the continued moratorium is necessary to ensure that the there are no repeats of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. “I am basing my decision on evidence that grows every day of the industry’s inability in the deepwater to contain a catastrophic blowout, respond to an oil spill, and to operate safely,” said Salazar in a statement.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate