So after the BP oil spill at Deepwater Horizon. Now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) announced its intent to open more than 20 million acres. All in the Western Gulf of Mexico. More ocean for new oil and gas exploration and development.
Oceana has publicly stated that rushing this lease sale puts marine ecosystems at risk of another oil spill. Especially before the ink is even dry on the impacts of the BP spill. Moreover, BOEMRE still hasn’t fully assessed the environmental impacts. Therefore, there are major shortcomings in spill response and cleanup capabilities.
First of all, BOEMRE appears to be caving to intense pressure from the oil industry to return to ‘business as usual’. For that’s without regard for the extraordinary risks to already imperiled marine animals. This was said by Jacqueline Savitz. Jacqueline is senior campaign director for international ocean conservation group Oceana.
Reports following the Deepwater Horizon spill highlighted the impacts on already struggling species. For that’s such as endangered sea turtles. Many commercially important fish were spawning at the time of the spill. In addition, studies to measure the impacts have not yet been completed. So until the status of those populations is clarified. For it’s impossible to determine the impacts of this lease sale. This is a step required prior to the sale.
Moreover, BOEMRE is relying on an extremely out-of-date spill risk analysis from the year 2000. All which was written long before the Deepwater Horizon accident. That’s before deepwater drilling became as common as it is today.
In addition, BOEMRE also neglects to account for the increased risk of blowouts and spills. Those that are likely when drilling in “frontier areas”. I mean that’s according to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Moreover, the Commission defined “frontier areas”. All to include deepwater and ultra-deepwater environments. For that’s such as those that would be included in the lease sale.
Most noteworthy, Oceana urges the Administration not to proceed with this lease sale. Especially until the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill are better understood. All until we improve our readiness to prevent and respond to major oil spills.
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