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BP Returns to Deepwater Offshore Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
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BP, the oil major responsible for the biggest offshore oil disaster in U.S. history, is officially returning to deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The Obama Interior Department “awarded” BP $27 million worth of leases for oil-and-gas exploration in the Gulf waters into which the company and its accomplices dumped roughly 5 million barrels of oil in April 2010.

The Interior Department conducted its first Gulf lease sale since the BP disaster and announced today the winning bids from 20 different companies totaling $712 million. Adding a strange insult to injury, the lease sale was conducted in New Orleans, home to many fishermen and small business owners whose livelihoods were imperiled by BP‘s reckless drilling disaster.

In its coverage, BP Awarded $27 Million in Leases for Gulf Oil, Gas Exploration, the National Journal reports that:

BP bid a total of $109.9 million on 15 leases and won 11 for $27.4 million, Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management reported in a list of sales posted on its website.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said:

This marks a milestone with respect to the greatest overhaul in the America’s history,” Salazar said of the offshore-drilling safety reforms and changes implemented by Interior since the April 2010 explosion of a BP well in the Gulf led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. “We believe we can move forward with oil and gas development.”

The only milestone this really marks is the renewed guarantee that the oil industry will continue to destroy the Gulf of Mexico one disaster at a time in its pursuit of dangerous, extreme energy. 

Forbes’ coverage includes this astonishing set of quotes from the head of BOEMRE:

Michael Bromwich, director the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management was quoted today defending BP. “They don’t have a deeply flawed record offshore,” he reportedly said. “We’ve done analyses over time on the relative safety records of offshore operators and they wre in close to the top crew.”
 
Bromwich added: “The question is, do you administer the administrative death penalty based on one incident?,” Bromwich told reporters. “And we’ve concluded, I’ve concluded, that’s not appropriate in these circumstances.”

In case there was any doubt in your mind, Bromwich’s logic here confirms that the Obama administration has returned to the status of Big Oil lapdog in hideous fashion today.

Any bets on which oil major will offer Mr. Bromwich a job when he’s finished aiding and abetting industry in the destruction of the Gulf? 

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
Brendan is Executive Director of DeSmog. He is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in media, politics, climate change and energy. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Grist, The Washington Times and other outlets.

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