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Government could lift drilling moratorium 'very soon'

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says the government will lift a moratorium on deep water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico "very soon."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the government is close to having the necessary plans in place to lift the ban that was imposed after the Gulf oil spill.

The administration imposed new rules to make offshore drilling safer late last month, but said at the time that it was not yet ready to lift the moratorium. The new rules take effect immediately and include requirements that oil rigs certify that they have working blowout preventers and standards for cementing wells. The cementing process and blowout preventer both failed to work as expected in the Gulf spill.

The moratorium is set to expire Nov. 30.

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