US to issue order for new Gulf oil drilling ban

Ken Salazar Mr Salazar said a moratorium was "needed" and "appropriate"

US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has said he will issue an order for a new moratorium on deep water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after a court blocked an earlier ban.

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the six-month moratorium put in place in the wake of April's massive oil spill was too broad.

But suspending drilling "was and is the right decision", Mr Salazar said.

The White House had already said it would challenge the judge's ruling.

The judge said the lengthy ban was "invalid" and could not be justified, as the negative impact on local businesses was simply too great.

"I will issue a new order in the coming days that eliminates any doubt that a moratorium is needed, appropriate, and within our authorities," Mr Salazar said in a statement.

'Immense scope'

Start Quote

We see clear evidence every day, as oil spills from BP's well, of the need for a pause on deepwater drilling”

End Quote Ken Salazar US Interior Secretary

The explosion on 20 April at the Transocean Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 people and caused the worst US oil spill in US history.

The government's decision in the immediate aftermath to suspend deep water oil drilling in the region brought operations to a standstill at 33 offshore rigs, with companies considering relocating their giant drilling rigs the longer it went on.

The ban was challenged by the oil industry when Louisiana-based Hornbeck Offshore Services filed a lawsuit. It was joined by more than a dozen other companies.

After hearing arguments in the case, Federal Judge Martin Feldman said: "The court is unable to divine or fathom a relationship between the findings and the immense scope of the moratorium."

Mr Feldman has been criticised in the US for his record of investing in oil companies.

But Mr Salazer said: "We see clear evidence every day, as oil spills from BP's well, of the need for a pause on deepwater drilling."

Earlier this month, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that the disaster would raise costs, delay new projects and bring a thorough review of offshore regulation.

"April's sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and the ongoing oil spill might... prove to be a supply-side game changer," the IEA said in its monthly Oil Market Report.

More on This Story

US Oil Spill

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

Features

  • Witley Court in Worcestershire Abandoned mansions

    What happened to England's lost stately homes?


  • Tray of beer being carried10 Things

    Beer is less likely to slosh than coffee, and other nuggets


  • Spoon and buckwheatSoul food

    The grain that tells you a lot about Russia's state of mind


  • Woman readingWeekendish

    The best reads you need to catch up on


  • Salim Rashid SuriThe Singing Sailor

    The young Omani who became a pre-war fusion music hit


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.