BREAKING: Ignoring the lessons of the BP Gulf oil disaster, the Obama administration plans to go forward with the sale of over 18 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling.
ATLANTA, GA— The federal government ignored the impact of BP’s 200 million gallon oil spill in its assessment of risks and precautions for the Gulf of Mexico before the first new lease sale since the Deepwater Horizon disaster, according to a lawsuit filed today in D.C. federal court by conservation groups. In deciding to proceed with Lease Sale 218 on December 14, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management dismissed the lessons learned during the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster from its assessment of oil spill risk for the Gulf of Mexico, the possible size of an oil spill, and resulting damage – all considerations that could help prevent or mitigate a future spill.
The Southern Environmental Law Center filed the complaint today on behalf of Oceana, Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Center for Biological Diversity in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the BOEM’s decision to accept bids from oil and gas companies for new deep and shallow water leases in the Gulf of Mexico as part of Lease Sale 218.
Defenders attorney Sierra Weaver said, “Failing to fully analyze the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and the potential of future spills before moving forward with drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is asking for another drilling catastrophe. If the government isn’t going to act in the interests of the region’s wildlife, natural habitats and coastal communities, we will.”