"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued revised rules on Monday for a six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, replacing an earlier one that had been declared invalid by federal courts.
The revised moratorium would allow some drilling rigs to resume operating under certain conditions. To qualify, the rig’s owners must prove that they have adequate plans in place to quickly shut down an out-of-control well, that the blowout preventers atop the wells it drills have passed rigorous new tests, and that sufficient cleanup resources are on hand in case of a spill. Industry officials said it would be difficult to meet those conditions quickly, which could threaten thousands of jobs.
The original moratorium, struck down late last month by a federal judge in New Orleans, halted work on 33 wells being drilled in water greater than 500 feet deep in the gulf. Other new regulations have slowed or stopped work on dozens of other wells in shallower water.
Mr. Salazar directed federal regulators to come up with interim rules by the end of August that would clarify the steps needed to resume operations. But he made clear that most rigs would remain barred from drilling in deep water through November."