Citing improvements in safety standards and regulations, the moratorium on deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has been lifted, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said today. Drillers will be required to meet "the higher bar we have set," Salazar said, including written certifications by oil company executives that they have met all the safety rules. The thinking behind the new rules is that they would prevent another disastrous oil spill, but critics are displeased with the decision for various reasons: Some call the regulations "too onerous"; others say deep water drilling remains too risky and dangerous. The six-month moratorium was first put in place by President Obama during the wake of the BP oil spill, and was supposed to end on November 30. [Read the U.S. News op-ed debate on whether offshore oil drilling should be expanded.]
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