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For Immediate Release, April 14, 2011

Contact: Miyoko Sakashita, (415) 632-5308

One Year After Gulf Oil Disaster, Significant Dangers Remain Unaddressed

New Report Outlines 10 Much-needed Reforms to Protect People, Environment From Offshore Drilling

SAN FRANCISCO— A new report by the Center for Biological Diversity finds that one year after the oil-spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, dangers of offshore drilling remain unaddressed yet new projects get the stamp of approval from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The report, “Lingering Threats,” outlines 10 key policy, regulatory and oversight areas identified in the wake of the spill that have yet to be addressed by regulators and elected officials.

“The Deepwater Horizon disaster was a wake-up call about the dangers of offshore drilling, but politicians and regulators haven’t heard it,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center. “Many of the same lax regulations that were in place before the Gulf disaster are still on the books.”

The report calls on the Obama administration to take several crucial steps, including:

  • Close the loophole that has allowed hundreds of offshore drilling projects to evade in-depth reviews of their effects on the environment
  • Stop using woefully out-of-date information to determine and address the dangers of offshore drilling, especially in light of the massive BP oil spill
  • Comply with longstanding laws like the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act designed to protect vulnerable species from industrial-scale drilling operations
  • Lift the liability cap for companies responsible for oil spills and require companies to be fully accountable for damage
  • Impose a moratorium on offshore drilling in the Arctic, where an oil spill would devastate fragile ecosystems and be nearly impossible to clean up

“The Gulf oil spill was the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, but we’re poised to repeat it if we don’t address fundamental problems with offshore drilling,” Sakashita said. “Unfortunately, rather than fixing problems, Congress easily forgets hard-learned lessons from the Gulf spill and instead seems intent on getting offshore drilling back to business as usual.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 320,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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