Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Senegalese photographer's flashbacks to Africans throughout history

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Hollande photographed with Julie Gayet on Elysée Palace balcony

Read more

REVISITED

Is Beirut still haunted by ghosts of the civil war?

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Band Aid 30 - Hit or Miss? Bob Geldof in Hot Water over Ebola Single

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Deal or No Deal with Iran? Home Stretch to Reach Historic Agreement

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Football scandals: The ugly side of the beautiful game

Read more

#THE 51%

Ending violence against women: The dangers of trial by Twitter

Read more

#TECH 24

Tech giants under scrutiny: The problem with Uber

Read more

FOCUS

Inside an Iranian nuclear research reactor

Read more

Americas

US to order new drilling ban after judge blocks earlier freeze

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-23

US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar vowed Wednesday to order a fresh moratorium on deepwater oil drilling “in the coming days”, after a judge overturned the Obama administration’s six-month freeze following a challenge from oil services companies.

REUTERS - The White House stepped up its legal battle on Wednesday over a key part of its response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill after a U.S. judge blocked its six-month ban on offshore drilling.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he would order a new moratorium on deepwater drilling “in the coming days” to reinstate a temporary ban aimed at ensuring offshore safety after the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

“We see clear evidence every day, as oil spills from BP’s well, of the need for a pause on deepwater drilling,” Salazar said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Salazar will testify to a Senate subcommittee at 1100 EDT (1500 GMT) on Wednesday, along with Michael Bromwich, the new head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy.

The bureau is the new name of the Minerals and Management Service, the troubled regulator blamed for failing to police the energy industry adequately. Bromwich, a former Justice Department inspector general, is assigned to overhaul it.

But President Barack Obama, also dealing with his top general in Afghanistan over insulting comments in a magazine article, postponed a meeting with senators set for Wednesday to discuss the process for passing energy and climate laws this year.

The 65-day-old disaster—which threatens fishing and tourist industries in the Gulf as well as fragile ecosystems—has shattered investor confidence in BP Plc, the British-based energy giant blamed squarely for the spill.

The price of BP’s stock, a stalwart of investment portfolios in Britain and the United States, has been slashed in half since the start of the crisis.

BP shares fell to 13-year lows in London on Tuesday amid uncertainty about the company’s value as it grapples with the containment, clean-up, lawsuits and mounting costs.

The entire sector is also under scrutiny “given the new politicization of the oil industry,” said Michael Cuggino, chief executive of Pacific Heights Asset Management in San Francisco, which holds BP shares.

“I think we’re all trying to find out what the company’s worth right now,” he said. “It could go lower certainly. It could also bounce back and the fog clears and you begin to have some clarity with respect to what the problem is.”

Top of Obama’s agenda

Seeking to restore confidence and rehabilitate BP’s image, Managing Director Bob Dudley will take over the day-to-day response to the spill from Chief Executive Tony Hayward, who was criticized for a series of gaffes.

The crisis has thrust its way to the top of Obama’s crowded domestic agenda and he has evoked it to rally support for his efforts to craft a clean energy and climate change policy.

The high-stakes legal battle over deepwater drilling began after the BP well ruptured on April 20, spewing millions of gallons (litres) of crude into the Gulf of Mexico and killing 11 workers.

Obama imposed the ban while officials checked that other wells were operating safely. But in granting a request by more than a dozen oil services companies for the moratorium to be overturned, the judge challenged its “immense scope.”

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll found most Americans still support offshore drilling despite the spill.

Other skirmishes are taking place, pitting local against federal officials.

Forty miles (65 km) off the Louisiana coast, on the north end of the Chandeleur Islands, a sand dredge sat idled late on Tuesday after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ordered operators to stop pumping sand to create new barrier islands.

The agency wants local officials to put the dredge farther out but they complain that will waste time—a common complaint about the federal response to the effort.

“Adaptive management and common sense are critical to the success of this project if we are going to prevail in protecting our precious marsh,” Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, said in a letter to Obama complaining about the delay.
 

Date created : 2010-06-23

  • USA

    Internal BP doc nearly doubles worst-case daily oil spill rate

    Read more

  • USA

    BP head's yatch outing draws ire as oil spill continues

    Read more

  • USA

    BP partner says British firm likely guilty of 'willful misconduct'

    Read more

COMMENT(S)