The Obama administration’s recently re-imposed deepwater drilling moratorium is now reportedly stopping shallow-water drilling as well. The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources issued a release Tuesday showing that the moratorium has resulted in a near-total decline of approved shallow-water drilling permits:
Approved permits for shallow water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico have dropped significantly since the federal moratorium on deepwater drilling earlier this year, with only one approved new well permit so far in July. In the 11 months prior to the moratorium, the federal government approved an average of 14 permits per month in the Gulf of Mexico.
The first attempt at imposing the moratorium met outspoken resistance by Gulf coast residents. After federal courts threw out the first ban, the Obama administration regrouped and issued a new ban on July 12th, this time banning drilling regardless of water-depth. Ken Salazar said of the new ban:
Like the deepwater drilling moratorium lifted by the District Court on June 22, the deepwater drilling suspensions ordered today apply to most deepwater drilling activities and could last through November 30…the May 28 moratorium proscribed drilling based on specific water depths; the new decision does not suspend activities based on water depth, but on the basis of the drilling configurations and technologies.
According to Lafayette, Louisiana’s The Advertiser these “configurations and technologies” are pretty much the same regardless of water-depth. “Since shallow-water wells often utilize floating drilling platforms,” which is one of the key pieces of banned equipment, “the ban in fact applies to most shallow-water drilling.”
While off-shore oil drilling is lurching to a standstill, there’s plenty of fuel being added to the fire of outrage by Gulf coast residents being affected by the moratorium. A “Rally for Economic Survival” took place Wednesday at the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana, where it was attended by more than 11,000 local citizens who spoke with what Opelousas, Louisiana “Daily World” called “a remarkable degree of unanimity.”
Speakers from across state and local government and industries declared that, “The Obama administration’s six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling must be lifted before it does more damage to the region’s economy — and to the nation’s capacity to produce energy.”
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal specifically highlighted the compounding effect of the shallow-water drilling ban:
New requirements for shallow-water drilling are causing permitting delays that could lead to significant additional economic impacts on top of those caused by the deepwater drilling moratorium. Shallow water OCS drilling activities support thousands of Louisiana jobs in addition to those related to deepwater activity.
Offshore drilling bans stretch far beyond simply hurting Louisiana. Dr. David Kreutzer and John Ligon report that the economic impact of a total offshore drilling ban could be nationally crippling. It would: 1) Reduce GDP by $5.5 trillion; 2) Reduce job growth by more than 1 million jobs by 2015 and more than 1.5 million jobs by 2030, and 3) Increase the total expenditures for imported oil by nearly $737 billion.
The Heritage Foundation remains on the scene in the Gulf states, surveying the devastating impact the misguided federal response has had so far. Citizens affected by the drilling moratorium are clamoring to get back to work, and fearful that they might not be able to if the administration continues to compound the damage done by the largest oil disaster to ever wreak havoc on our country.
Lifting the oil-drilling moratorium is priority number 1 on Obama’s Oil Spill To-Do List, and there is so much more to be done.
Vincent Coglianese is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm