The Raw Story, an online news source, reported on June 20 that the U.S. has opened new areas in the central Gulf of Mexico for drilling. However, amid controversy that the move will further damage a fragile ecosystem, environmental groups filed a lawsuit hoping to prevent more drilling. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday, one day before officials announced $1.7 billion on winning bids.
For the first time since the April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon (leased by BP), the Interior Department had offered, according to Raw Story, “more than 39 million acres of new tracts ranging from three to more than 230 miles (… 370 kilometers off the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi in depths ranging from 10 to more than 11,200 feet (3 to 3,400 meters). It received winning bids on 2.4 million acres.”
The sale followed an analysis of the BP spill conducted by the Obama administration to increase drilling that is “safe and responsible.”
But, Jacqueline Savitz, vice president for North America at Oceana, one of the groups filing suit, said, “The government is gambling with the Gulf by encouraging even more offshore drilling in the same exceedingly deep waters that have already proven to be treacherous, rather than investing in safer clean energy that creates jobs without risking lives and livelihoods.”
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Photo: Two Offshore Production Platforms For Oil and Gas Development via Shutterstoc