The US administration has permitted British oil company, BP, to bid for new oil drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The latest announcement has come as a bit of a shock to the environmentalists who less than two years ago rallied against BP in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“They don’t have a deeply flawed record offshore,” said Michael Bromwich, head of the newly formed Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. “The question is: ‘Do you administer the administrative death penalty based on one incident? We have concluded that’s not appropriate.”
Environmentalists have been appalled by the decision. Friends of the Earth Craig Bennett, director of policy and campaigns at the environmental group argued, ?Governments should be administering the death penalty to all deepwater drilling rather than waiting for yet more devastating incidents like the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico or in any other part of the world.?
The oil spill in Deepwater Horizon that happened of the Gulf of Mexico was deemed as the worst oil spill in the US maritime history. During the three month ordeal, 11 people were killed and 4.9 millions barrels of crude oil got released into the sea. The spill also caused major damage to Gulf of Mexico’s?marine and wildlife habitats as well as the fishing and tourism industries.
Since the oil spill, BP claimed it has introduced many changes to its offshore regime to make sure that offshore spill of this proportion would never happen again.?There has been opposition from the ruling Democratic Party in the US government, with Rep. Ed Markey (D Mass.), the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee asking regulators to consider barring BP from the coming auction “to give us time to assess whether BP has made the necessary changes to protect the public interest.”
The oil drilling biddings will be held on 14 December, in New Orleans, which involves the lease of the western regions of the Gulf of Mexico. The lease covers about 21 million acres, in water depths of up 11,000 feet.