As expected, President Obama is planning to lift the drilling moratorium and to return to his planned drilling program off pristine areas of the East Coast. While Obama is no longer claiming that oil rigs really do not spill much, it really does not matter much. Bureau head Michael Bromwich has announced that the six-month ban is unlikely to be renewed in a blow to environmentalists. One lasting change? The Obama Administration changed the name of the scandal-laden Minerals Management Service to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
The Administration has been putting on a full court press with officials expressing relief that they can find no large amounts of oil left — brushing over the millions of gallons of toxic chemicals that they allowed BP to dump into the ocean to disperse the oil. Experts have objected that the Obama Administration has been actively downplaying research showing these chemicals remain in the food chain for many years. Administration officials have said that the health impact of these chemicals remains uncertain — leading others to question the decision to dump millions of gallons into the ocean.
The recent public offensive appears calculated in part to lift the ban. In the ultimate example of “out of sight out of mind,” Bromwich insists that he can “see no information so far that would justify extending the moratorium.”