New Permitting Process For Oil Drilling: Just Another Fairy Tale?

The Obama administration just announced several measures designed to streamline the permitting process for oil and gas drilling. “We are constantly looking for ways to create a smarter, more efficient, and more transparent permit review process,” said Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

Gulf workers, of course, would welcome a “smarter, more efficient and more transparent permit review process” so we could get back to work. We also would welcome the Tooth Fairy, but we’re not holding our breath.

Americans will excuse us for not celebrating a return to our jobs. We’ve simply been burned too many times by the Obama administration.

There was the time when President Obama said he wanted to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. Then he flew to Brazil to announce America would someday be one of its “best customers” for oil.

There was the time when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told Congress that the Obama administration planned a “robust” oil and gas program in the U.S. But then the Interior Department refused to approve but a handful of oil drilling permits for more than a year.

Then there was the time when Bromwich told Congress that regulators had “permitted 14 unique deepwater wells.” Challenged by a Senator, Bromwich then admitted those 14 wells were “all previously permitted.”

In the meantime, gas prices soared to $4 a gallon, the economy sputtered and Americans began itching for the next presidential election.

Now the Obama administration says it is streamlining the permitting process.

We all want to believe that the White House is sincere. But we’ve long since realized that there really isn’t a fairy that trades quarters for baby teeth.

Once we see the drilling permits, once we get back to work, once oil begins to flow again, we’ll believe the Obama administration. Until then, we’ll put this in the same category as “The check is in the mail,” “I’ll respect you in the morning,” and “This won’t hurt a bit.”

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