U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today unveiled new offshore drilling safety regulations, but because he would not commit to an early end to the drilling moratorium, U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu is maintaining her block of the nomination of Jack Lew to director of the Office of Management and Budget.

“My hold on Mr. Lew’s nomination will remain for the same reason it was placed originally,” Landrieu said, noting that the administration has not yet acted to lift its “ill-conceived” moratorium on offshore drilling. She maintains the policy is having a devastating impact on working people and small businesses throughout the Gulf Coast. The six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling, which the Obama administration put in place after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, is set to expire Nov. 30.

Landrieu said everyone — in particular those who live along the coast — wants offshore energy production safety standards strengthened. “But we have been able to demonstrate that the oil and gas industry can improve safety progressively over time, without a complete work stoppage,” she said.

The Democratic senator added that the evidence is overwhelming that this moratorium is a poor economic policy and has achieved no safety improvements that could not have been achieved in its absence.

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