State officials react to lifting of drill ban

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Government officials lifted the moratorium on Tuesday, and Louisiana officials exhibit mixed reactions to the decision.

The Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, said that government officials had completed enough research within the last three months to lift the drilling ban.

"I know some people won't be completely satisfied with today's decision," said Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior. "The truth is there will always be risks, associated with deepwater drilling. But we have now reached a point where we have significantly in my view reduced those risks."

While some officials feel this decision is a good thing for Louisiana, they still have their uncertainties about when the drilling will begin.

"We're excited that the administration has taken this first step," said Gifford Briggs, with the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association. "But we are very cautious because there is still a lot of uncertainty out there."

As before companies can begin drilling, they are required to apply and pass all new and existing safety regulations.

"This doesn't mean companies are going to be able to flip the switch, and have drilling rigs going back to work overnight," said Lt. Governor Scott Angelle of Louisiana.

However, officials said they are confident that companies will adjust to the new regulations and begin drilling again very soon.

"We are hopeful to work through the regulations so that the companies will get their work permits to begin drilling," said Angelle.

The Department of the Interior is currently taking applications from oil companies for them to begin drilling once again.

Officials are unsure of how long the application process will take and when the drilling will actually begin.

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