On April 30, President Obama announced that he was slapping a moratorium on drilling permits for new offshore wells, and would stop handing out the kind of controversial environmental waivers the Administration gave the ill fated Deepwater Horizon rig -- but those pronouncements didn't put a stop to offshore drilling. In the days since Obama made his pledge to push the pause button on drilling, federal regulators have handed out at least 19 environmental waivers for drilling projects in the Gulf and issued at least 17 new drilling permits, many for the same kinds of work the Deepwater Horizon was doing before it exploded. When asked about the continued issuing of permits and waivers, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar explained that his agency had no intention of stopping all new oil and gas production in the Gulf. A statement from the Interior Department said that the moratorium was only meant to halt permits for drilling new wells, not to stop new work on existing drilling projects like the Deepwater Horizon.
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