Interior official says rebound from drilling moratorium will be slow

Very few offshore oil and natural gas drilling rigs will actually resume activity within the first month the deepwater drilling moratorium is lifted in the Gulf of Mexico, a top Interior Department official said Monday.

"Even when the moratorium is lifted, you won't see drilling going on the next day or even the next week," Michael Bromwich, head of the Interior Department's new Bureau of Ocean Management, Regulation, and Enforcement said during testimony in front of the Oil Spill Commission on Monday.

He said it would be difficult for the oil and gas industry to comply with new safety requirements, which he deemed both "appropriate and necessary." These include identifying worst-case scenarios and preparing spill response plans.

The bureau's report on the moratorium will include rules and recommendations for offshore drilling and should be out this week, Bromwich said.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who also testified at the hearing Monday, said he looks forward to scrutinizing the options presented, as mounting pressure comes from Congress to lift the ban early, before it's scheduled to end in late November.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., has been one of the most outspoken critics of the administration's moratorium. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., late last week, she said she would block the confirmation of the new OMB director until the ban is lifted or "significantly modified." Her Republican counterpart from Louisiana, Sen. David Vitter, supported her effort.

Salazar underscored what he has said since oil began pouring into the Gulf of Mexico in April -- that safety is paramount. The Interior Department's one goal, Salazar said, is "to be able to move forward in a manner that will protect the workers and the environment."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.