Mixed Messages

No Halt in Offshore Drilling

President Obama may have called for a moratorium on new offshore drilling since the Deepwater Horizon blast, but The New York Times reports at least seven new permits have been granted since the announcement—potentially violating the president’s orders. And at least five environmental waivers—also banned by the president—have been given as well. When confronted about the drilling, officials at the Department of the Interior and the Minerals Management Service stressed public comments by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, “reiterating that the agency had no intention of stopping all new oil and gas production in the Gulf,” and arguing that the moratorium was only intended to stop permits for new wells, not permits for different types of drilling on existing projects. Critics, however, feel it’s been violated, inviting the possibility of another devastating accident.