Dept of Interior to Re-Review Offshore Oil Drilling Plans

ken salazar photo

photo: Dept of Interior

Last week Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that controversial oil and natural gas exploration leases in Utah would be canceled. Now he's stated that "the time for reform has arrived" when it comes to reviewing offshore oil drilling proposals pushed through by the Bush administration. And then he patted the oil and gas industry on the back... Here are some of Salazar's remarks:We Must Embrace the President's Vision of Energy Independence

Despite the enormous sweep of the proposal to open up as many as 300 million acres to new offshore oil and gas leasing, the Bush Administration's notice called for the completion of scoping meetings and public hearings on the new OCS plan by March 23 — less than 45 days from today.Â

It was a headlong rush of the worst kind.  It was a process rigged to force hurried decisions based on bad information.  It was a process tilted toward the usual energy players while renewable energy companies and the interests of American consumers and taxpayers were overlooked. 
But the time for reform has arrived.Â

To those of you from the oil and gas industry, I pledge that you will have a seat at the table in this Administration.  I assure you that you will play an important role in helping us meet our nation's energy needs.

But President Obama and I believe that we need to be honest about our energy future.  A "drill only" approach — onshore or offshore — is not enough.Â

We need a new, comprehensive energy plan that takes us to the new energy frontier and secures our energy independence.  We must embrace President Obama's vision of energy independence for the sake of our national, economic, and environmental security.

In order to re-review the offshore oil drilling proposals of the Bush administration, there will now be: 1) An added 180 day comment period; 2) A new USGS and Minerals Management Service report on offshore resources, due within 45 days; 3) Increases public and stakeholder input; 4) a new framework for offshore renewable energy development, incorporated into the greater offshore energy strategy.

Full text of Salazar's statements: US Department of the Interior
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