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US officials approve BP's plan to resume gulf drilling

The British petroleum company's plan to continue oil drilling in the Gulf Coast was approved Friday by the US Interior Department.

Bp oil drill resume 2011 10 21Enlarge
In this handout image provided be the U.S. Coast Guard, fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010 near New Orleans, Louisiana. An estimated 206 million gallons of crude oil have spilled into the gulf from accident. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon's 126 person crew. (U.S. Coast Guard/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. Interior Department gave BP the greenlight on Friday to resume oil drillings in the Gulf of Mexico, the NY Times reports.

The British oil company's plan to drill up to four exploratory wells off the Louisana coastline comes more than a year after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe that poured out more than 206 million gallons of crude oil, crippling the economy of the southern Gulf states and wreaking damage to the natural habitat and wildlife. The 2010 oil spill was deemed the largest industry-related accidental oceanic oil spill in history.

“Our review of BP’s plan included verification of BP’s compliance with the heightened standards that all deepwater activities must meet,” said Tommy Beaudreau, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management who approved the plan.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement will need to officially give BP permits before drilling can resume.

The wells will be in a depth of roughly 6,000 feet below water under the proposed plan; the Deepwater Horizon well that exploded was about 5,000 feet deep, Politco reports.

The oil company's approved plan came during a bittersweet time, as the same department that OK'd the plan issued 15 violation notices to BP that could result in $45.7 million in fines.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/111021/us-officials-approves-bps-plan-resume-gulf-drill