WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Friday directed that no new offshore oil drilling leases be issued unless rigs have new safeguards to prevent a repeat of the explosion that unleashed the massive spill threatening the Gulf Coast with major environmental damage.
Obama ordered Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to report within 30 days on what new technologies are needed to tighten safeguards against oil spills from deep water drilling rigs.
“We are making sure any leases going forward have those safeguards,” said Obama at a White House Rose Garden event.
The president sought to reassure the jittery Gulf Coast that Washington is on top of the mounting oil spill crisis, saying people’s livelihoods and a region’s ecology are at stake.
His declaration is not expected to have any immediate impact. Under the expanded leasing plan that Obama announced a month ago, the first offshore leases would be issued off the Virginia coast in 2012 at the earliest. More>>>
Now this is something I agree with the POTUS on. Halting any future offshore drilling projects until the results of an investigation of the cause of the spill is a smart move.
The problem is, had he and his administration figured out the consequences of offshore drilling before committing to it, I and other progressives would be even more gleeful. I know he said he would put it on “hold” and not stop the program entirely, but this spill in the gulf is enormous. It’s possibly the largest spill ever at a daily spill of 200,000 gallons of oil per day thus far.
One can only hope that after the White House mandated investigation as to how the spill occurred, is completed, the President will think twice about an off-shore drilling program. The animal habitat of that area in the gulf will be affected for years. There has to be a better way to obtain our energy resources, just as the POTUS said on his campaign trail when he was against offshore drilling.
I tend to believe that after all is said and done, and the reports start rolling in about the dangers of offshore drilling to the environment as well as our incessant need for fossil fuel, offshore drilling may have already become a thing of the past. At least for this administration.