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BP Gets Permission To Resume Drilling In Gulf

The move to allow BP to resume drilling four years after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion drew both sharp criticism and praise.
Posted at 9:40 AM, Mar 14, 2014

Four years after the disastrous Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and two years after the EPA ruled British Petroleum had not fully corrected problems with its oil drilling, BP is now allowed to resume operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

ANCHOR: "The company reached an agreement with the EPA yesterday. In 2012, the company pleaded guilty to charges surrounding the deadly oil spill." (Via CBS)

ANCHOR: "It was just four years ago that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded killing 11 workers. Millions of gallons of oil was spilled contaminating hundreds of miles of coastline." (Via NBC)

Deepwater Horizon's explosion and sinking is considered the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. An oil gusher on the sea floor sent millions of barrels of oil into the sea over the course of nearly three months in 2010.

The decision to welcome BP back to the Gulf of Mexico was sure to evoke emotions from those devastated by the oil spill on the coastline. (Via CNN)

The environmental impact was obvious in 2010, but experts say cleanup is still not complete with oil continuing to wash ashore, especially during storms. (Via YouTube / Environmental Defense Fund)

A spokesman for the Gulf Restoration Network told The New York Times, “They still haven’t really made it right when it comes to the gulf.”

But the Times also talked to an oil analyst who called this a moral victory for the lawsuit-laden oil producer. “It will be the best news BP has gotten since the accident. BP has to get back into the hunt in order for them to score.”

BP was not without some political help in getting its drilling rights back.

In early December, the British government made the unusual step of filing a brief in U.S. federal court calling the EPA's driling ban excessive. The Washington Post reports the government has a special interest in the case since it affects British jobs and pension funds.

Under this new agreement, BP could begin bidding for new drilling leases in the Gulf as early as Wednesday. That's the same day Politico reports the Interior Department is scheduled to hold a lease sale for 40 million acres.