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News Items for May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010

1. Obama Extends Moratorium on Offshore Drilling

From: New York Times, May 27, 2010

Article by Peter Baker

WASHINGTON — President Obama said on Thursday that he is extending the moratorium on permits to drill new deepwater wells for six more months, as the head of the agency that oversees offshore drilling resigned under pressure…

Mr. Obama’s order is intended to halt further permits for new wells for six months, delay planned exploration in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off the coast of Alaska, cancel an August lease sale in the western Gulf and cancel a lease sale off the coast of Virginia, said a White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity before the formal announcement.

H. Cole’s note: this is a big victory for those opposing offshore drilling; the 6 months is time for opponents to campaign and the public to solidify its views after seeing the extent of the damage from the BP disaster. See Item 3.

H.Cole note: The following map shows the location of the mid-Atlantic area that may be open to leases and drilling and the location of Lease 220 off the coast of Virginia from the Minerals Management Service (Department of Interior). Notice that the lease site is only about 60 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.



2. Oil cleanup workers get ill, boats ordered back to shore: See this article in ProPublic by Ryan Knutson, ProPublica – May 27, 2010.  “All 125 commercial vessels working to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have been ordered back to shore temporarily after four workers on three separate vessels became ill, according to a Deepwater Horizon Response press release.” The illness may have been relate to the use of dispersant use or fumes from the volatile contaminants off-gassing from the water. Watch for follow up on this story. See full article here.

3. Survey shows that most Americans believe that the risks of offshore drilling outweigh potential benefits: A survey was conducted by the University of Virginia Commonwealth Life Science Survey group based on a nationwide telephone interview conducted from May 12-18, several weeks after the initial explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon Rig.  See Table below. See full report here.


Table showing responses of those surveyed

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