“There are concerns of $4.00 per gallon gasoline in the near future, and while one deepwater permit is a start, it is by no means reason to celebrate,” Vitter said in a statement Monday just an hour after the Interior announcement. “I’m still demanding that the Obama administration allow at least 15 deepwater drilling permits before I release my hold on an Interior Department nominee.”
Expect to hear similar sentiments from other Republicans this week, as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar makes the rounds on Capitol Hill. Even with one permit issued, Republicans are expected to press Salazar on the slowdown in permits since the spill.
But Salazar and other administration officials have said they will not be pressured to issue permits. Before getting the go-ahead, companies must prove that they can contain runaway wells and meet a slew of tougher safety regulations imposed by the administration in the aftermath of the spill.
Vitter placed a hold earlier this month on Dan Ashe, President Obama’s nominee to head Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.