Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has ordered a halt to all new offshore drilling permits nationwide until at least the end of the month.
Salazar spoke to reporters Thursday outside BP's Houston crisis center. He said lifting the moratorium on new permits will depend on the outcome of a federal investigation over the Gulf spill and the recommendations to be delivered to the president May 28.
He said until then, "We are putting things on hold relative to the granting of permits for well construction on the outer continental shelf."
Salazar also said he believed BP's "life was very much on the line here," and that he believed the company was taking the situation "very seriously."
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