Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Thursday unveiled new regulations aimed at reshaping the nation's offshore drilling industry in the wake of the BP oil spill.
"These new rules and the aggressive reform agenda we have undertaken are raising the bar for the oil and gas industry's safety and environmental practices on the Outer Continental Shelf," Salazar said.
He also defended his department's deepwater drilling ban. Salazar said he would lift the ban when he is "comfortable" that risks associated with drilling have been significantly reduced.
The drilling ban, strongly opposed by Gulf Coast politicians and oil companies, is set to expire on November 30.
When the ban ends, the department has admitted that drilling would not resume right away because energy companies would first have to meet new safety rules.