Shallow-water-drilling lobbyists are hoping that new federal regulations will accelerate the permitting process that has slowed since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. "It is certainly one step out of the briar patch, but we are still in the briar patch," said Jim Noe, head of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition. The Department of the Interior said it would no longer permit waivers on deepwater studies and would also strengthen reviews of shallow-water projects.

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