"The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement approved a permit for the Houston-based company Noble Energy to drill a so-called bypass well in 6,500 feet of water about 70 miles southeast of Venice, La.
The new well would track one started in April 2010 but plugged two months later, when the government established a moratorium on deep-water drilling in response to BP's well blowout. Noble's new drilling would go around the plugs to reach the oil.
The administration's announcement comes as Interior Department officials face growing pressure from the courts and Congress to speed up the approval process. Not a single new well has been drilled in deep water since the April 20 BP oil spill, which killed 11 workers and spewed more than 200 million gallons of crude into the gulf."
Neela Banerjee reports for the Los Angeles Times March 1, 2011.
"U.S. Approves First Deepwater Oil Drilling Permit Since BP Spill" (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
"Interior Issues First New Deepwater Permit" (Greenwire)