Ken Salazar, secretary of the interior for the Obama administration, announced a collection of new rules for offshore drilling Sept. 30 that the adminstration suggests may lead to the early lifting of the deepwater drilling ban it enacted after the BP/Deepwater Horizon rig blowout on April 20 this year. The moratorium is scheduled to lapse Nov. 30.
The new rules focus on equipment standards and workplace safety, and the administration has requested Congress to impose a 30-day review period on any permit for a new drilling location. New rules would require both oil and natural gas companies to improve emergency systems, detail a worst-case scenario for any spill if safeguards fail and introduce new standards for well design, casing and cementing. A third party must verify that any blowout preventers are designed properly and suited to all pressure levels foreseeable in the case of an accident.
The full text of the speech is available here.