Monday, March 21, 2011

Third Deepwater Drilling Permit Issued for Gulf - Still No Spill Response Info

Third time's definitely not the charm. BOEMRE just issued another permit for deepwater drilling in the Gulf, again to continue work on a well that was already underway, again with a sweeping statement of confidence:
“This permit approval demonstrates that deepwater drilling can and will continue in the Gulf of Mexico provided that operators have successfully demonstrated their ability to operate safely,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich.
And once again, the public version of this permit application submitted by ATP Oil & Gas Corporation contains no information at all about the estimated worst-case spill, the specifications and test results for the containment device that would be deployed in the event of a blowout, and the cleanup technology that will be employed to deal with a major spill. We assume from their letter to President Obama that the company provided this information to BOEMRE. So why can't the public see this information too, so we can all share in BOEMRE's confidence?

What's so secret about an oil spill cleanup plan anyway?

On a related note, BOEMRE also just approved Shell's latest exploration plan for the deepwater Gulf, which did contain details about a worst-case scenario spill, a containment plan, and a cleanup plan. We think the plan had some alarming shortcomings. You can read our concerns in the comments we submitted.

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