US tightens rules on offshore drilling permits

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Washington, Aug.17 (ANI): The Obama administration has said that it would require significantly more environmental review before approving new offshore drilling permits, ending a practice in which government regulators essentially rubber-stamped potentially hazardous deepwater projects like BP's out-of-control well.

The administration has come under sharp criticism for granting BP an exemption from environmental oversight for the Macondo well, which blew out on April 20, killing 11 workers and spewing nearly five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The more stringent environmental reviews are part of a wave of new regulation and legislation that promises to fundamentally remake an industry that has operated hand-in-glove with its government overseers for decades.

According to the New York Times, many oil industry officials worry that the new environmental, safety, technical and financial requirements will drive some companies out of business, discourage future exploration and worsen the nation's dependence on imported oil.

The highly competitive oil industry has always operated under tremendous cost and time pressures; the new rules will most likely slow the development of new wells while raising costs, the paper reports. (ANI)

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