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One year after the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the government is slowly handing out new permits to allow deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico -- a move oil industry insiders say is a safe one.
The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, 2010, forced a reported 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf, leading to a deep-water drilling moratorium. So, selling safe drilling to coastal communities still cleaning oil out of their sensitive wetlands has been anything but easy. The images of oil-soaked birds and beaches will never fade from the memories of those who live and work along the Gulf Coast.
“It's not a matter of if there’s another accident, it's a matter of when, " said Gulf Restoration Network Director Aaron Viles. “They haven’t really learned a significant lesson here and they aren’t really better prepared to respond to another accident.”
“We are in a road of progress, but we’re not at a point, nor will we ever be, where we can say that we have achieved the safest possible oil and gas drilling in America’s oceans, ” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. “We have to make sure that the industry as a whole does not have the same sense of complacency that it had before the Macondo Well spill.”