Obama Administration States Intention to Allow Reopening of Shallow Gulf Drilling, Retain Moratorium on Deepwater Drilling

The Obama administration, facing rising anger on the Gulf Coast over the loss of jobs and income from a drilling moratorium, said Monday that it would move quickly to release new safety requirements that would allow the reopening of offshore oil and gas exploration in shallow waters.

The White House says it supports lifting the $75 million cap on liability damages for offshore drilling, a move industry groups say will make it too hard for smaller companies to drill offshore. The administration isn't planning to reconsider its 6-month moratorium on new deep-water wells. "A repeat of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill would have grave economic consequences for regional commerce and do further damage to the environment," the White House said in a statement yesterday.