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EUObserver: Oettinger backtracks on oil drilling ban


EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission appears to have backtracked on earlier plans for a compulsory moratorium on deepwater oil drilling inside the EU, with new proposals set to call for a voluntary ban at member state discretion.

The executive's energy commissioner, Guenther Oettinger, is scheduled to announce the review of Europe's drilling activities on Wednesday (13 October), calling on national governments to voluntarily suspend drilling in very deep waters and environmentally sensitive areas like the Arctic.

A more forceful draft circulating last week simply called on member states to implement the ban however, attracting the ire of British MEPs who feared such a move would cost jobs.

The EU's biggest oil reserves are found in the North Sea off Scotland, with MEPs from the region instrumental in watering down a parliamentary declaration last week that ultimately opposed a compulsory ban, while at the same calling for tighter security restrictions in the sector.

That warning appears to have been taken on-board, with Wednesday's final draft set to give member states the means, under EU law, to impose a ban if they choose, according to Reuters.

Green MEPs welcomed the proposals to strengthen EU rules but were disappointed by the commission's softened stance on a drilling ban, arguing that Europe is not prepared to deal with a spill on the scale of the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year.



You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:42:46 AM EST
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