Department of Interior Sued to Prevent More Drilling Without Environmental Review

gulf oil drilling environmental review exemptions map

image: Southern Environmental Law Center

The lawsuits continue: In separate lawsuits the Center for Biological Diversity, and Defenders of Wildlife plus the Southern Environmental Law Center have taken on the Department of Interior of its handling of the ongoing ecological disaster caused by the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Both target the Mineral Management Service's permitting of oil drilling operations without environmental review. The Defenders of Wildlife suit targets the MMS' "continued lax oversight of oil drilling operations, including its failure to require a thorough examination of oil risks from exploratory drilling operations like the Deepwater Horizon."

Backing the allegations, documents filed in the suit highlight,

the MMS' continued exemption of over 20 new structures and exploratory wells--including four at almost twice the depth (over 9,000 feet) of the one currently hemorrhaging in the Gulf of Mexico (almost 5,000 feet)--from environmental review of the risks after the current oil spill is a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Salazar has learned nothing from this catastrophe
The Center for Biological Diversity action targets Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar directly, though broadly for the same actions of the Mineral Management Service--continue to issue new permits (26 of them) for oil drilling after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, and all without environmental review.

Attacking Salazar, executive director of CBD KierĂ¡n Suckling said in a press statement: "Ken Salazar has learned absolutely nothing from this national catastrophe. He is still illegally exempting dangerous offshore oil drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico from all environmental review as millions of gallons of oil gush into the ocean. It is outrageous and unacceptable."

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More on the BP Oil Spill:
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