Environmentalists File Lawsuit Against Gulf Offshore Drilling Leases Auction

Posted in BP British Petroleum,Deepwater Horizon,Environment,Government,Gulf Coast,Louisiana Maritime News,Maritime Law,Maritime Lawsuits on December 15, 2011

WASHINGTON — A lawsuit has been filed by Oceana, Defenders of Wildlife, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity Tuesday, Dec 14, in U.S. District Court in Washington claiming that the federal government failed to take steps to avoid a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that occurred in April 2010.

Despite the lawsuit challenging the sale, the federal government has decided to go ahead with the first auction of offshore petroleum leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Attorney Catherine Wannamaker for the Southern Environmental Law Center, which is representing the environmental groups, said that the offshore regulatory agency “is continuing the same irresponsible approach that led to the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and harm still being felt in the Gulf.”

“It’s easier for the government and oil companies to return to business as usual without the oil spill’s impacts on the Gulf, but it’s illegal and irresponsible,” she went on to say.

Source: Huffington Post

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement plans to auction 3,900 blocks off the Texas coast on Wednesday in New Orleans. The sale covers about 20.6 million acres.

The tracts are far from the site of the BP spill, which began in April 2010 about 50 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Interior Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said the bids will be opened as scheduled. She said the agency could not comment on the suit.

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