Deepwater Horizon

New NEPA procedures for offshore drilling

Cross-posted at CPRBlog. Today the White House Council on Environmental Quality issued a report on the NEPA analysis that preceded exploratory drilling at the ill-fated Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, together with recommendations for improving NEPA analysis in the future. According to CEQ, the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (successor to the …

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Update on Gulf sea turtle hatchlings

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the Fish and Wildlife Service planned to collect eggs from sea turtle nests on the Gulf coast to move them to the east coast of Florida. Well, the plan is in process. All known sea turtle nests in Alabama and the panhandle of Florida are being marked, and …

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Interior hits the pause button again

Cross-posted at CPRBlog. As he had promised, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today issued a new decision memorandum suspending certain deepwater drilling operations. Today’s decision replaces the moratorium that the federal District Court in New Orleans enjoined on June 22, and which the Fifth Circuit declined to reinstate last week. As I made clear in my …

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Travel Is Broadening–2010 Edition

Having just returned from a trip to Northern Europe, a couple of experiences resonate with me that, I hope, are worthy of sharing here. The first relates to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, British Petroleum, and the distinct ways in which BP’s role and responsibility for the spill are viewed, depending on one’s geographical roots. …

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Good crisis, bad crisis

The Gulf oil spill illuminates two aspects of crisis response: the strength and the limits of its power to motivate reflexive, rapid action. Crisis can motivate too much or too little. Consider first the limits of crisis as a driver of action. It’s long been commonly thought that high-profile events were important in catalyzing the …

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Stay denied in appeal of offshore moratorium decision

Cross-posted at CPRBlog. A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit heard argument today on the Obama administration’s request that it stay the District Court’s injunction of the 6-month deepwater oil development moratorium, and by a 2-1 vote quickly rejected the request. The moratorium halted any new drilling, and the granting of any new permits for …

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Offshore drilling and endangered species — Part 2

Cross-posted at CPRBlog. Yesterday I wrote about the shortcomings of ESA consultation on the Deepwater Horizon and other offshore oil rigs. Today I take up the implications of the spill itself under the ESA. At least one ESA lawsuit has already been filed, and at least partially resolved. The Animal Welfare Institute, Center for Biological …

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Offshore drilling and endangered species — Part 1

Cross-posted at CPRBlog The media have paid a lot of attention to the cavalier attitude of the former Minerals Management Service (now called the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement) toward the National Environmental Policy Act (I blogged about it here and here and Dan weighed in here). Less has been said, so …

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News Flash: Richard Lazarus to be Executive Director of Deepwater Horizon Team

DOE has announced: The co-chairs of the bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling have selected a highly regarded Georgetown University law professor to serve as the commission’s executive director. Richard Lazarus, the Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., Professor of Law at Georgetown, will lead the staff of the …

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As the Gulf Bleeds Crude Oil, Alberta’s Tar Sands Provide a Test

If you were President Obama, what would you do about the tar sands fields in Alberta?  He is being asked to approve or reject a pipeline extension that would carry 900,000 barrels per day of Canadian crude deep into the United States.  It has to be exceedingly tempting to just say “yes”.  After all, Canada …

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