The Obama administration lifted the six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday, about a month-and-a-half before the ban was set to expire.
The moratorium was put in place following the British Petroleum oil rig explosion in April that killed 11 workers and dumped some 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf. The ban was originally set to expire Nov. 30.
A federal report estimated the moratorium caused a temporary loss of 8,000 to 12,000 jobs in the region.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the ban was lifted early because of new rules put in place to strengthen safety measures for deepwater oil drilling.
"Operators who play by the rules and clear the higher bar can be allowed to resume," Salazar said.
The new rules include a requirement that oil company CEOs certify a well has complied with all regulations before it is used. This could make company leaders liable for any future accidents.