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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet


June 2, 2010

Contact: Kristina Johnson
(415) 977-5619

New Gulf Offshore Drilling Project to Move Forward

Today, the Minerals Management Service approved a new drilling permit for an offshore well in the Gulf of Mexico. Last week, the president extended his ban on deepwater drilling for an additional 6 months, but lifted the ban on shallow water drilling, allowing this project to move forward.

Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

Opening new drilling in the Gulf is asking for trouble.

President Obama has taken important steps to address the problems that led to the BP disaster. The President is reforming federal oversight of drilling, is investigating the BP disaster, and has frozen drilling in the Arctic and Virginia. He's shown a commitment to ending subsidies to the oil industry and instead investing in clean energy. These are important steps, but we need more. We need assurance that this won't happen again.

New expanded drilling in the Gulf doesn't fit into the President's efforts to reform the oil industry. New offshore drilling, whether in shallow or deep water, has no place in President Obama's clean energy agenda.

Where there is drilling, there are spills. The oil industry now wants us to believe that drilling in shallow water is safe. In fact, shallow water drilling is just as risky as deep water drilling. In 1979, we saw a disaster very similar to the BP catastrophe from Ixtoc 1, a shallow well in the Gulf. They used all the same techniques to try to stop that gusher, and it took them nine months to finally do it. By that time, an estimated 138 million gallons had spilled.

The disaster in the Gulf is a wake up call. It's time to turn the tides. We need an end to all new offshore drilling, period. We have never needed President Obama's visionary leadership more. We need the President to deliver a plan to move our nation beyond oil over the next twenty years.


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