Undaunted, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued a new ban this afternoon. This one's not a blanket moratorioum, but a series of "suspensions."
Secretary Salazar has directed BOEM to direct the suspension of any authorized drilling of wells using subsea or surface BOPs on a floating facility. Secretary Salazar has further directed BOEM to cease the approval of pending and future applications for permits to drill wells using subsea or surface BOPs on a floating facility. These suspensions shall apply in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific regions through November 30, 2010, subject to modification if the Secretary determines that the significant threats to life, property, and the environment set forth in this memorandum have been sufficiently addressed.
Salazar's old rules used depth to define whether drilling was banned -- anything deeper than 500 feet was out. His new rules apply to rigs that float, like the BP's Deepwater Horizon used to do. At least, they apply unless another court throws them out.