LOS ANGELES – The Obama administration plans within a week to issue a new ban on deep-sea oil drilling to replace a moratorium rejected by a federal court.
On a Friday visit to California, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar defended the six-month moratorium his agency imposed in May and said the difficulties BP has encountered in containing the massive Gulf spill and dealing with its blown-out well underscore the need for a pause in deep-sea drilling.
“The moratorium we issued on May 28 in my view was right then and is right today. I think it’s very legally defensible. I think that the lower court was wrong,” Salazar said Friday on a visit to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
“We will move forward and in the coming days announce a new moratorium decision. It will be within the next week,” he added.
A federal appeals court Thursday declined to put a hold on an earlier lower court order overturning the ban, while the matter is on appeal.
Salazar said the new moratorium decision will incorporate data gathered in recent weeks.
“All the different work … we have been overseeing and been involved in has given us new information on the inadequacy of the ability to contain the ongoing spill at the site of the well, the difficulties in having an oil spill response plan that is effective at protecting ecological values,” he said.