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Deepwater drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico lifted

The ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was lifted by US president Barak Obama last week.

The ban had been in place since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded with the loss of eleven lives at the end of April. The resultant spill caused many thousands of tons of oil to be released into the Gulf causing serious problems for the four affected US States.

The US government has now imposed new safety conditions on oil firms to reduce the chance of an oil spill.

US interior secretary Ken Salazar stated:

"We have decided it is now appropriate to lift the suspension on deepwater drilling for those operators that are able to clear the higher bar that we have set,

"The oil and gas industry will be operating under tighter rules, stronger oversight, and in a regulatory environment that will remain dynamic as we continue to build on the reforms we have already implemented."

The drilling ban was lifted a month early after politicians pushed through the new safety conditions before elections in November. The news was received well by companies who had operations halted in the Gulf like Royal Dutch Shell and Transocean, but has received criticism from Environmental groups who want to see an end to the US’s dependence on oil.

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