Green lawyer: Interior policy might not free drillers from environmental review

Here’s how Pettit puts it:

“If the new [spill] number is higher – which, in my view, it is likely to be – then the companies must revise their pre-spill cleanup and contingency plans. Those revisions would be subject to review under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”).  If the new number is lower, the companies can continue to rely on the cleanup and contingency plans that they submitted to MMS, without additional NEPA review,” he writes.

Pettit adds: “We don’t know yet how the comparison of the recalculated and old numbers will turn out.  It seems clear to me that oil companies who lowballed their worst-case estimates to MMS, as was a common practice, will come off badly under the new rule and that, for them, resumption of drilling is many months away.  So my takeaway message is that there is no reason to get worked up about BOEMRE’s new rule until they have done the math.”