This part of the Gulf of Mexico had been OFF LIMITS to drilling until Bush was elected. It also had strict environmental protections until Bush removed them. Here are the specific things he did to open this area to drilling:
1. May 2001. Cheney chaired a secret Energy Task Force, (NEPDG), releasing a document pushing offshore drilling and removing restrictions.
2. August, 2005, the Republican/Bush passed the “Energy Policy Act of 2005″ authorizing drilling on the outer continental shelf..
3. December 2006, the Republican/Bush pass the “Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act” (GOMESA), mandating leasing 7.8 million acres in the Central Gulf and removing environmental regulations.
4. April 2007. Bush cleared millions of acres in the “Central Planning Area” for drilling including this site. The EIS downplayed the risks:
“Offshore oil spills resulting from a proposed action in the
WPA are not expected to damage significantly any wetlands
along the Gulf Coast.” (Page 83)
“A subsurface blowout would have a negligible effect on GOM
fish resources or commercial fishing.” (Page 89)
5. Dec 2007. Bush/Republicans pass the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007″ which
removed many environmental protections, shortened the drilling permit period from 2 years to
10 days and allowed drilling in National Parks.
6. July 2008, Bush lifted the ban on offshore drilling in place for 26 years. Originally passed by congress in 1982, it was expanded in 1990 by Bush’s father and Clinton extended it to 2012.
“For years, my administration has been calling on Congress to
expand domestic oil production. Unfortunately, Democrats on
Capitol Hill have rejected virtually every proposal.”
“Failure to act is unacceptable. So today, I’ve
issued a memorandum to lift the executive prohibition on oil
exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf.”