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.