Few people have been more vocal about the challenges facing offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico than Sen. David Vitter. As a Republican from Louisiana, Vitter has firsthand knowledge of the Obama administration’s slow pace of permitting since last year’s oil spill.
Louisiana has yet to fully recover from the drilling moratorium and the subsequent delays stemming from Washington. This week marked the first offshore lease sale in nearly two years — a sign of progress. However, bureaucrats are still taking 115 days to approve plans, nearly twice as long as the historical average. And only 35 percent of plans submitted to the government have been approved this year compared to a average of 73 percent before the spill, according to Greater New Orleans Inc.
Vitter has pressured the administration to act by blocking confirmation of the president’s nominees and appealing directly to Department of Interior officials. He shared shared some of the challenges on this week’s edition of Scribecast.
As he noted in the interview, the federal government can’t afford to abandon offshore drill because it provides much-needed revenue. This week’s lease sale netted about $337 million — a far cry from the $9 billion the government collected in 2008.
Vitter also discussed ongoing negotiations about the Keystone XL pipeline and his effort to repeal the Presidential Dollar Coin Act of 2005. This week the Treasury Department announced the U.S. Mint was halting production of the coins after consumers expressed little desire to use them.