News Release

BP Disaster: Assessing Ken Salazar

CORRECTION: In the news release sent out this morning titled “A Drilling Moratorium That Isn’t,” the phrase “as deep at” should have been “as deep as.” The full correct sentence is: “At least four of those are for wells in water over 9,000 feet deep — nearly twice as deep as the Deepwater Horizon well that is still spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico.”

BRENDAN CUMMINGS
SARAH BERGMAN
Cummings is senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity; Bergman is assistant executive director for the group, which is regularly updating the Gulf disaster section of its webpage.

In response to President Obama’s press conference on actions he will take in response to the Gulf oil disaster, Cummings said: “While the decision to suspend Shell’s planned drilling this summer in the Arctic is an important first step, what we really need is revocation of the improperly issued leases and permanent protection of the Arctic. The fact that no technology exists to effectively clean up an oil spill in Arctic waters will not be changed in a year’s time.

“As the president recognized today and the Gulf disaster has tragically demonstrated, even in areas with existing infrastructure and significant spill response assets, containment and response capability to a large oil spill is wholly inadequate. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Obama administration should not pretend that a six-month review of drilling procedures will change anything. Expanding offshore drilling to new areas needs to be permanently taken off the table.

“President Obama’s speech follows a month of half-steps and broken promises by the Interior Department since the Deepwater Horizon explosion in which a pledged ‘moratorium’ on oil drilling turned out to be largely a fiction, with multiple drilling plans approved after no environmental review, and drilling permits similar to those given to BP continuing to be issued.

“President Obama has promised reforms relating to offshore drilling while Secretary Salazar has stated that ‘those responsible will be held accountable.’ Secretary Salazar’s search for accountability should start by looking in the mirror. President Obama’s most important reform should be to install an Interior secretary with the capability and political will to effectively rein in the oil industry.”

See: “Interior Department Exempted BP Drilling From Environmental Review: In Rush to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling, Interior Secretary Salazar Abandoned Pledge to Reform Industry-Dominated Minerals Management Service

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167