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U.S. Interior Dept. Proposes New ‘Narrower’ Drilling Rules

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Following the July 8 decision by a U.S. appellate court in New Orleans to uphold a lower court’s ruling that lifted the Obama Administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, the U.S. Dept. of the Interior on July 12 said its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will issue narrower “suspensions” that will curtail most deepwater drilling activities through Nov. 30. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the new suspensions will apply to drilling operations that use subsea blowout or surface preventers on floating facilities. The suspensions allow for some limited deepwater drilling to continue, including emergency drilling related to the ongoing BP oil spill and certain “low risk” operations. Salazar says a temporary pause will provide time to implement recent safety reforms.

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