"Oil Companies' New Gulf Drilling Plans Called Inadequate"

"Oil companies recently turned in their first plans for exploratory drilling in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including new information the government has required since last year's BP blowout about how they'd try to prevent and cope with another oil disaster.

The oil companies that want to explore the seabed below the deep water say they've learned from last year's accident and have better plans in place than they did a year ago, when an explosion at an oil rig set off the nation's worst oil accident.

Environmental groups, however, cite several reasons those plans fall short: The system to capture oil at a broken wellhead still hasn't been proved in the very deep waters; systemic problems with blowout preventers haven't been solved, and companies were too optimistic about how quickly they could drill the kind of relief wells that ultimately plugged the BP spill.

The plans for the new exploratory wells come as Republicans are using high gas prices to push the Obama administration into speeding up permit approvals and expanding drilling."

Renee Schoof and Kevin G. Hall report for McClatchy Newspapers April 15, 2011.

SEE ALSO:

"Regulation of Offshore Rigs Is a Work in Progress" (New York Times)

"On the Spill, More Questions Than Answers" (St. Petersburg Times)

"Republicans Push Bills To Boost Offshore Oil Drilling" (Reuters)

"When It Comes To Offshore Drilling, Still Treading in Deep Water" (Washington Post)

"A Year After BP Oil Spill, Fate of Gulf Ecosystem Remains Murky" (Washington Post)

"Sick Fish Suggest Oil Spill Still Affecting Gulf" (St. Petersburg Times)

"A Year On, Gulf Still Grapples With BP Oil Spill" (Reuters)

"On Anniversary, Still Hard To Measure Full Damage From BP Oil Spill" (USA TODAY)

"BP Oil Spill Has Lasting Effects, One Year Later" (Los Angeles Times)

"What If It Happened Here?" (Mother Jones)

Source: McClatchy, 04/18/2011