Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today issued a statement in support of the Obama Administration’s move to impose a new moratorium on offshore drilling in federal deep waters until November 30, 2010, or until the Secretary of the Interior deems it safe to resume drilling.  Also today, BP announced that it will begin testing the latest effort to contain the leaking wellhead through a new, better fitting containment cap, called the ‘capping stack.’

          Below is the statement from Senator Feinstein, in support of the new moratorium:

“I fully support the Obama Administration’s move to impose a new moratorium on drilling in federal deep waters.  The Deepwater Horizon crisis has confirmed the inherent catastrophic dangers of deepwater drilling – and proven that the current prevention and response technologies are inadequate to safeguard our cherished coastlines and sensitive marine habitats.

This new suspension in drilling will provide time for the ongoing joint investigation into the April 20 Deepwater Horizon incident to be completed and for experts to assess the dangers of wellhead blowouts at these depths. Furthermore, drilling will not resume until all deepwater operations have in place technologically-feasible plans to respond to catastrophic spills.

The spill is in its 82nd day, yet the timeline for fully plugging the leak remains uncertain. In the meantime, tens of thousands of barrels of oil continue to spew into the Gulf of Mexico. We still don’t know if today’s effort to provide a better seal and capture more of the oil through the unprecedented 150,000-pound cap will work, nor when the relief wells will be complete.  At this point, it’s clear that the risks of deepwater drilling outweigh the benefits.

The fact is that we are ill-equipped at the federal level to properly regulate deepwater offshore drilling – and at this time, I have little confidence that federal regulators properly evaluated the safety and environmental risks of deepwater drilling. 

In my opinion, the Administration should continue to ban new deepwater drilling until there is a thorough overhaul of federal safety and environmental drilling policies; the full reorganization of the newly christened Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (the agency formerly known as the Minerals Management Service) is complete; and technology is readily available to handle a deepwater catastrophe.”