The US has released environmental guidelines subjecting oil and natural-gas drilling in deep water to full environmental reviews while offering assurances that operations in shallow waters can proceed.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the department is taking a fresh look at the environmental protection process and the types of environmental reviews that should be required for offshore activity, reports Bloomberg.

Salazar added that decision-making must be fully informed by an understanding of the potential environmental consequences of federal actions permitting offshore oil and gas development.

The new policy ends blanket exemptions for deep-water projects such as one granted to BP before its Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The US Interior Department said the guidelines will allow regulators to move forward with new permits in shallow water.

The environmental guidelines followed the release of a report from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, which called on the regulatory bureau to review its use of categorical exclusions.