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Facts on The Deepwater Drilling Moratorium [View All]

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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-18-10 08:53 AM
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Facts on The Deepwater Drilling Moratorium
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Edited on Fri Jun-18-10 08:57 AM by berni_mccoy
I've seen a lot of disinformation regarding the moratorium flying around. There are a few points everyone should remember. First, it's not a moratorium on drilling. It's a moratorium on deepwater wells. Secondly, it means that there will be no new deepwater wells drilled. It doesn't necessarily mean leases won't be approved, it doesn't mean plans won't be approved. It means that drilling operations won't be allowed to drill until the moratorium is lifted.

Most of the information comes directly from the White House itself.

As such, here are some key points covered directly by the White House:

1. What about these permits? From May 24th:
MS. BROWNER: There is. The President has said no new holes. Let me tell you what --

Q So what are these permits?

MS. BROWNER: So what the Times appears to be talking about are modifications to existing permits. It is quite routine where youre currently drilling and you need to make a modification, youve encountered something that you didnt anticipate, and so you go back in -- and its called a permit, but I think the better way to think about it is that its a modification to an existing permit.

There are -- in addition -- so theres that going on. I think thats what the Times is reporting on. There are 23 permits out there for new drilling activities that are not -- have not begun. So what the President said is were going to stop; those have been stopped. There were two that were issued shortly after the accident. Those have also been stopped. So all of the deepwater permits that were not currently drilling are not going forward at this point in time.

2. What about existing deepwater drilling operations in the gulf? From May 27th:

And four, we will suspend action on 33 deepwater exploratory wells currently being drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

3. What about these leases approved by the MMS in the gulf? Weren't they approved?
No, the leases were not approved, they were deemed acceptable. There has been no final sale on the pending leases in the Gulf, even though as late as June 11th, 448 bids were deemed acceptable.Secondly, even if a drilling company has a lease, it is not permission to drill. They must get a permit to drill once they have a lease. Secretary Salazar has cancelled the lease per a directive issued by President Obama. From May 27th :

To improve the safety of oil and gas development in federal waters, provide greater environmental protection and substantially reduce the risk of catastrophic events such as the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today called for aggressive new operating standards and requirements for offshore energy companies and ordered a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. He also canceled a pending lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico and a proposed lease sale off the coast of Virginia, and suspended proposed exploratory drilling in the Arctic.

Secretary Salazar said the Administration will continue to take a cautious approach in the Arctic and, in light of the need for additional information about spill risks and spill response capabilities, will postpone consideration of Shells proposal to drill up to five exploration wells in the Arctic this summer. In March, Secretary Salazar cancelled the remaining four lease sales in the 2007-2012 program that the previous Administration had scheduled for the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in the Arctic, and the President formally withdrew Alaskas Bristol Bay from the oil and gas leasing program. The Department will make decisions about potential future lease sales in Alaska in the 2012-2017 OCS program based on public input, scientific analysis, and the results of on-going investigations and reviews into the BP oil spill. (For a link to a fact sheet on OCS policy, click here.)

The Secretary today also cancelled a proposed 2012 lease sale for offshore Virginia to allow additional consultations with the Department of Defense on military training requirements in the area, and canceled a lease sale for the Gulf of Mexico that was scheduled for August 2010. The findings of the Presidential Commission, environmental reviews, science-based analysis and public input will inform the Secretarys decisions about whether to move forward with other leases sales in the Gulf of Mexico that are currently scheduled for 2011 and 2012, along with decisions about what areas in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic should be considered for inclusion in the 2012-2017 OCS program.

4. Even after new safety standards are put in place, won't drilling, especially deepwater drilling, still be too risky?
Yes. Obama admits this in his oval office address:

So one of the lessons weve learned from this spill is that we need better regulations, better safety standards, and better enforcement when it comes to offshore drilling. But a larger lesson is that no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, drilling for oil these days entails greater risk. After all, oil is a finite resource. We consume more than 20 percent of the worlds oil, but have less than 2 percent of the worlds oil reserves. And thats part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean -- because were running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

So, what is Obama going to do about it? A better question is what are the American People going to do about it? Again, from Obama's address:

This is not some distant vision for America. The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time, but over the last year and a half, weve already taken unprecedented action to jumpstart the clean energy industry. As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels. Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient. Scientists and researchers are discovering clean energy technologies that someday will lead to entire new industries.
None of this goes to the question of why not just stop drilling altogether

So, while the transition off of fossil fuels will take some time, The Obama Administration has made the largest investment in clean and renewable energy than any other administration in the history of the U.S. And they've only just begin. Some details on what they've done are here:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included more than $80 billion in clean energy investments that will jump-start our economy and build the clean energy jobs of tomorrow:
- $11 billion for a bigger, better, and smarter grid that will move renewable energy from the rural places it is produced to the cities where it is mostly used, as well as for 40 million smart meters to be deployed in American homes.
- $5 billion for low-income home weatherization projects.
- $4.5 billion to green federal buildings and cut our energy bill, saving taxpayers billions of dollars.
- $6.3 billion for state and local renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts.
- $600 million in green job training programs $100 million to expand line worker training programs and $500 million for green workforce training.
- $2 billion in competitive grants to develop the next generation of batteries to store energy.

Increasing, for the first time in more than a decade, the fuel economy standards for Model Year 2011 for cars and trucks so they will get better mileage, saving drivers money and spurring companies to develop more innovative products.

The President issued a memorandum to the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances, like dishwashers and refrigerators. Through this step, over the next three decades, well save twice the amount of energy produced by all the coal-fired power plants in America in any given year.

Supporting the first steps of a legally-binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide.

On Earth Day 2009, the President unveiled a program to develop the renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents. These regulations will enable, for the first time ever, the nation to tap into our oceans vast sustainable resources to generate clean energy in an environmentally sound and safe manner.

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