US Lifts Moratorium on Drilling Early Feds again allow deepwater work in Gulf By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Oct 12, 2010 11:47 AM CDT 6 comments Comments In this file photo taken April 13, 2007, a natural gas platform is shown off the coast of Fort Morgan, Ala. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, file) (Newser) – The government's controversial moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is ending more than a month early. The Interior Department lifted the ban this afternoon, opening the way for drilling to resume within weeks, the AP reports. The feds are satisfied that new rules put into place will ensure the safety of wells—with an emphasis on having a plan to cover worst-case scenarios. Not like this plan, presumably. "The policy position that we are articulating today is that we are open for business," said Interior Department chief Ken Salazar.