Saturday Aug 13, 201106:04 PM GMT
Federal judge throws out Obama drilling rules
Sat Aug 13, 2011 6:6PM
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A judge on Friday threw out Obama administration rules that sought to slow down expedited environmental review of oil and gas drilling on federal land. Huffingtonpost

 

U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled in favor of a petroleum industry group, the Western Energy Alliance, in its lawsuit against the federal government, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Huffingtonpost

 

HIGHLIGHTS

The ruling reinstates Bush-era expedited oil and gas drilling under provisions called categorical exclusions on federal lands nationwide, Freudenthal said. Huffingtonpost

 

Federal land agencies adopted new rules for interpreting the Energy Policy Act last year in response to an environmentalist lawsuit. The Western Energy Alliance says the rules would have delayed and added to the cost of drilling. Trib

 

The government argued that oil and gas companies had no case because they didn't show how the new rules, implemented by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service last year, had created delays and added to the cost of drilling. Abcnews

 

FACTS & FIGURES

The provisions spelled out in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 allow the government to skip new environmental reviews for drilling permits under certain circumstances. Billingsgazette

 

The circumstances include instances where companies plan to disturb relatively little ground and environmental review already has been done for that area. A categorical exclusion also can be invoked when additional drilling is planned at a well pad where drilling has occurred within the previous five years. Abcnews.go

 

There are in fact two drilling bans in the U.S. One is a presidential ban, which George H. W. Bush Senior signed in 1989 and George W. Bush lifted in July 2008. The other is a Congressional ban, adopted in 1981. Newscientist

 

Former U.S. President George W. Bush lifted an almost 20 year-old executive order that banned oil and natural gas drilling in most U.S. coastal waters in July 2008. Newscientist

 

in March 2010, the Obama administration proposed to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time. Nytimes

 

The U.S. Minerals Management Service has estimated that there are around 18 billion barrels of oil in the underwater areas off-limits to drilling. Scientificamerican

 

That's significantly less than in oil fields open for business in the Gulf of Mexico, coastal Alaska and off the coast of southern California, where there are 10.1 billion barrels of known oil reserves as well as an estimated 85.9 billion more. Scientificamerican

 

The Energy Information Administration estimates that by 2030, U.S. oil daily demand will climb to nearly 23 million barrels, with global per-day consumption expected to top 118 million. Scientificamerican

 

RS/KA/DB

 

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