The Hayride

Obama Says Moratorium Doesn’t Really Hurt Anybody; Louisiana Seethes With Indignation

Obama Says Moratorium Doesn’t Really Hurt Anybody; Louisiana Seethes With Indignation
September 16
17:34 2010

President Barack Obama’s moratorium on deepwater offshore oil drilling has been quietly fading from the front pages, as the effects and news coverage of the Gulf oil spill have tapered off. One could almost argue that the spill and the moratorium aren’t even national news stories anymore; they’re of purely local interest now.

So perhaps it’s on one level understandable that the administration, personified in a report entitled “Inter-Agency Economic Report Estimating the Economic Effects of the Deepwater Drilling Moratorium on the Gulf Coast Economy,” is touting the fact that since the moratorium went into place in late May, “only” 8,000-12,000 jobs have been lost.

This is a win, the administration says, because other predictions – like the one by the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association which said 33,000 jobs would be lost as a result of the moratorium, forecast far more dismal results. The administration’s own halfheartedly-assembled numbers which projected job losses numbering 23,000 or so were worse, for that matter.

The report offered this cheery summation:

“The evidence suggests that job impacts among workers in larger companies, particularly the drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, may be relatively limited because these companies have chosen to retain their skilled labor. Most of the potential employment impacts may be in businesses that provide supplies and support to the drilling industry in the Gulf Coast.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal doesn’t get angry in public very often, but today that seemed to change a bit based on a release his office put out which blasted Obama and his administration for their rather cavalier attitude. “It is stunning that the Obama Administration explained today that the loss of up to 12,000 Gulf Coast jobs and $1.8 billion in total spending by drilling operators due to their six-month deepwater drilling moratorium was somehow good news because it was less than expected,” he said.

“It is even more unbelievable that an Administration official testified about these anticipated job losses after admitting that the Administration did not consider the economic impact of their deepwater drilling moratorium at all before implementing it.”

Wait, what?

Yeah, that’s correct. The administration admitted today at a Senate committee hearing that no economic analysis was done on the moratorium before it was implemented. They might have done a rough estimate of job losses, but that’s it.

And here’s proof. Watch it closely, and you might be able to see a little steam coming out of Sen. David Vitter’s ears…

This is really amazing stuff. At this point it’s patently clear that Obama and his stooges Ken Salazar at the Department of the Interior and Michael Bromwich at the newly-christened Bureau of Ocean Energy Management were in violation of federal law by not doing an economic analysis of their actions before instituting the moratorium. The government has admitted as much, not just at the hearing this morning but previously, in Martin Feldman’s federal court in New Orleans. As a result, on three separate occasions the moratorium has been negated in court and yet it persists.

And now these people have the unmitigated gall to claim that economically the moratorium is no big deal because it’s “only” killed 8,000-12,000 jobs.

3rd District Congressional candidate Jeff Landry was indignant, too. “They evidently have not spoken to those who have been laid off or had their time cut,” he said. “It is a typical Washington bureaucrat response.  They first never get out of their offices, and then they evidently don’t have to worry about where their checks come from since we the taxpayers foot the bill.”

That’s a pretty typical reaction around the state, minus the profanity your average affected party struggles to avoid in expressing his or her true sentiments.

So much is wrong with this it’s hard to offer a coherent response. But let’s just boil it down to a few elements.

First, as Jindal mentioned in his statement, one job lost based on an illegal and stupid drilling moratorium is too many. Forget about 8,000. It is morally indefensible for this president to put people out of work by administrative fiat, when his experts told him safety would not be served by a drilling moratorium and when his own Export-Import Bank is financing both deepwater drilling off Brazil and Gulf of Mexico drilling off Mexico, with his blessing. Not to mention, once again, the fact that Obama had Salazar violate federal law by neglecting to conduct a required economic analysis before imposing the moratorium.

Second, while Obama and his flunkies are busy patting themselves on the back because they’ve “only” ruined 8,000-12,000 families with the moratorium, let’s not lose sight of the fact that this isn’t over yet. The fact that the forever-villified oil industry and the supporting industries which depend on it have shown a hell of a lot more compassion than Obama’s bureaucrats by coming out of pocket to the tune of tens of millions of dollars to hang on to its people in the face of the moratorium doesn’t excuse Obama at all. His complete and total disregard for private capital which does not belong to him aside, those heroic companies which are burning money rather than cutting losses in hopes this will be over soon will at some point be unable to hang on.

And at that point Obama won’t be able to brag about only killing 8,000-12,000 jobs. He’ll have to brag about only killing 15,000 jobs. Or 20,000. Or the 23,000 his sketchy and ignored analysis said he’d kill. Or maybe the 33,000 LMOGA estimated. Because the longer this thing goes, the more companies he’s going to destroy. And without companies, there are no jobs – as his inept roster of economic “experts” are finding out on a macro scale.

Third, and perhaps worst of all, is the disgusting volume of lies emanating from the orifices of this administration. Most glaring is a statement made earlier this week by Bromwich as he traipsed through Lafayette:

In today’s meeting, Director Bromwich again clarified that no moratorium exists on shallow water activity, and that the time spent processing either exploration or development plans, or the APDs themselves (which can only be approved following an approval of the plan for the lease as a whole), is necessary to ensure that all information required by the new standards has been submitted and properly evaluated.

Director Bromwich affirmed his commitment to ongoing assistance with the shallow water drilling community, but asserted that safety will not be compromised.

“I understand the frustration that people feel because we are not able to review and approve applications as expeditiously as we have in the past. But the central fact is that it has taken time to submit and verify the additional required information. We will not approve applications until and unless they fully comply with the new requirements. That will not make everyone happy, but it is the right way to proceed,” said Director Bromwich.

No shallow-water moratorium exists? Is that so? Well, prior to this new regulatory orgy there were, on average, 14 shallow-water drilling permits issued in the Gulf per month. How many have been issued in the five months since?

Four.

But that’s not a moratorium.

Bromwich has impressive academic credentials. He’s a Harvard man; he got an undergraduate degree there in 1976, a master’s degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and a law degree there in 1980. To lie as brazenly and eloquently to the faces of us Louisiana rustics as this man did earlier this week takes an exceptional level of training. Color us impressed.

Impressed, but still insulted. That’s not a surprise, I guess. Seems like insult almost always follows injury with this administration.

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