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Offshore Drilling

January 13, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
The Obama administration has announced the creation of an agency to focus exclusively on safety in offshore drilling and production, part of an ongoing effort to overhaul lax oversight that investigators said contributed to last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Speaking in unusually blunt terms, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich said Thursday that the government's heightened commitment to safety meant that his agency was unlikely to issue offshore drilling permits at the rapid rate they were before the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, which killed 11 men and started the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
December 2, 2010 | By Bettina Boxall and Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times
Citing the lessons of the BP oil spill, the Obama administration reversed course Wednesday and pulled plans to open the eastern Gulf of Mexico and portions of the Atlantic Coast to oil and gas exploration. "We believe the most appropriate course of action is to focus on development with existing leases and not expand to new areas at this time," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. The five-year offshore plan unveiled Wednesday was a relatively sharp turn from the administration's proposal in March, when it moved toward drilling off the mid- and southern Atlantic Coast and in the eastern gulf, areas that had long been off-limits.
October 24, 2010 | By Neela Banerjee, Tribune Washington Bureau
Even as the Obama administration allows offshore oil and gas operations to resume, government officials are working on a new safety strategy modeled after a British system that has substantially reduced oil spills. Washington has long sought to head off disasters such as the BP gulf oil spill by drafting and trying to enforce hundreds of detailed rules and regulations. Not only has that approach proved cumbersome and often ineffective, it ran the risk of failing to identify potential problems.
October 16, 2010
Political party: Democrat Occupation: San Francisco mayor Age: 43, born in San Francisco City of residence: San Francisco Personal: Wife, actress Jennifer Siebel Newsom; 13-month-old daughter, Montana Education: Bachelor's degree in political science, Santa Clara University Career highlights: Served on San Francisco Board of Supervisors and on Parking and Traffic Commission. Legalized gay marriage in San Francisco. Approved city's universal healthcare program.
September 4, 2010 | By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
Louisianans expressed relief Friday that another offshore tragedy had been averted: A second oil facility that caught fire this week did not cause a leak, and no one was hurt. But many here were also worried that Thursday's production-platform blaze dealt a public relations blow to an industry that is crucial to the regional economy and is still reeling from the April 20 blowout of the Deepwater Horizon rig. When she first heard about the fire, New Orleans legal assistant Terri Heimel said to herself, "Oh God, how could this happen again?
August 23, 2010
Maybe we shouldn't be too surprised that legislation to make offshore drilling safer for workers and the environment has stalled in the Senate; after all, it took 18 months after the Exxon Valdez tanker spill in 1989 for Congress to pass a bill aimed at preventing more such disasters. With all the money poured into lobbying and campaigning by oil companies, and with some states so deeply dependent on the industry, it's very hard to pass new regulations affecting Big Oil. But it shouldn't be this hard.
August 19, 2010 | By Maeve Reston, Los Angeles Times
With images of the Gulf Coast oil spill still fresh in voters' minds, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer campaigned in Santa Barbara on Wednesday, arguing that Carly Fiorina's support for additional oil drilling off California's coast could threaten the jobs of nearly 400,000 workers whose livelihoods depend on the coastal economy. Deliberately making an economic argument as well as an environmental one, Boxer spoke before a backdrop of blue and yellow kayaks at a small adventure touring company where the owner introduced her by asking the audience to imagine how their lives would change if "the devastation in the Gulf Coast were happening here.
July 31, 2010 | By Richard Simon, Reporting from Washington
In its most sweeping response to the gulf oil spill, the House on Friday approved legislation that would impose new environmental safeguards for offshore drilling, remove a liability cap for spill damages, and slap industry with a new tax to fund conservation projects nationwide. The Democratic-drafted legislation passed on a largely party-line 209-193 vote but faces trouble in the deeply divided Senate. "The Deepwater Horizon explosion and the subsequent damage that has occurred over the past 102 days is indeed a game-changer," said Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.
July 21, 2010 | By James Oliphant
Tribune Washington Bureau It took Republicans in the state House of Representatives here less than an hour Tuesday to deep-six an effort by Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican turned independent, to push a constitutional amendment banning offshore drilling. The outcome was not a surprise, but it was dramatic evidence that the massive oil spill is washing over gulf state politics as well as beaches. Crist, a popular governor who is running for the U.S. Senate as an independent after being flanked by conservatives in his own party, is hoping that anger over the oil spill will propel him to office.
July 21, 2010 | By Tom Hamburger and Julia Love, Los Angeles Times
When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in April it created an environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and a gusher for the economy of Washington, where the business of lobbying, public relations and the law is the dominant industry. Lobbying expenditure reports for the first reporting period after the April 20 blowout show that offshore drilling companies and environmental groups ramped up their spending to make their case to lawmakers and regulators on a range of energy-related issues.
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