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Drilling Ban Reimposed

December 3, 2010

Back in October, I wrote about the Obama Administration’s move to lift its 6-month ban on deepwater drilling. While we were cautiously pleased with their decision, we had concerns surrounding the timeline and when oil rigs would actually be able to resume drilling. Operations were told that they would be subject to a permit review process, but the Interior Department has yet to approve a new permit.

Now, however…you ready for this?...the Obama Administration has implemented a 7-year drilling moratorium for the entire East Coast as well as the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico. This plan comes in spite of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s October announcement that safety risks had been significantly reduced.

This moratorium will inevitably lead to fewer jobs in an industry that employs or supports 9 million Americans and a trillion dollars of economic activity annually. Given today’s reports that unemployment rose to 9.8% in November, it is unfathomable for the President to authorize this devastating ban. How can Obama be serious about making jobs his number one priority when he’s acting to destroy them in a region that’s already suffered immensely throughout this economic crisis?

My other fear surrounding October’s so-called moratorium lift was that it would amount to nothing more than a political tactic to help vulnerable Gulf Coast Members of Congress in the mid-term elections. Was it? I’ll let you be the judge. But I think it’s certainly safe to say that we were right to be skeptical. We’ve seen these types of games played before.


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