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BHI Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, has received the green light from the Department of Interior to resume drilling operations off the coast of Louisiana, becoming the second such company in the last three weeks to receive such permission. Noble Energy Inc. was given the go-ahead to resume drilling operations off the Gulf Coast in early March, and expects to start work again by the end of the month.
These are the first mining companies to receive the government’s approval to drill off the Gulf Coast since the temporary moratorium was issued last May following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
In the recent Gallup Poll annual environmental survey, 60 percent of Americans now support offshore drilling for oil and gas in U.S. coastal regions, up from 50 percent last May.
With the price of crude oil above $100 per barrel and prices at the gas pump continuing to climb, it’s likely that the benefits of gaining further energy independence has citizens back in the “drill, baby, drill” mode.
Permits to drill are now being given on a case-by-case basis, and any offshore drilling taking place anywhere in the U.S. must meet rigorous new safety standards put in place since last spring’s spill in the Gulf.
Certainly this return to the business of offshore drilling is good news to many in the Gulf region who have been adversely affected by the spill and its aftermath, including those in the restaurant, fishing and seafood industries. The resulting additional jobs will mean more customers spending more dollars and an overall feeling of normalcy may begin to seep into the mindset of those living and working in the area.
Let’s hope it’s one more step in the Gulf Coast’s comeback story.
The Food Channel is bringing you recaps of some of the best stories from around the Web that will help us all learn more about the true situation in the Gulf. Stay with us as the story unfolds and let’s see what the future of food may look like in the wake of crisis.