One of the first disasters to unfold under President Barack Obama’s watch remains a difficult situation to manage nearly a year later. The spill that poured nearly 5 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico continues to be a headache for Obama as the oil giant prepares to resume drilling in the area.
Several new reports say BP will begin drilling operations on 10 existing wells as soon as July while adhering to stricter safety standards. The company’s hopes of drilling new exploratory wells in the Gulf remain off the table.
BP’s plans for offshore drilling in the Gulf come less than a week after Obama delivered a major speech on U.S. energy policy that focused on the need to increase domestic oil production. A New York Times story reported that BP says it needs to resume drilling operations in the Gulf to pay the $40 billion in damages to families and businesses affected by last year’s spill. Compounding the situation, the Department of Justice says it is considering new criminal penalties against BP, including the possibility of levying manslaughter charges against BP for the deaths of the 11 rig workers who died during the explosion in 2010.