In the 1950s, one of President Eisenhower’s most controversial cabinet members was his Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra T. Benson. For decades after his presidency, the farm belt mentioned his name with almost universal scorn. I would not compare the late Secretary Benson’s policies to the current Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, but I think we are looking at the series of events whereby the oil patch will rightly lament whenever the name Ken Salazar is mentioned for decades to come along the gulf coast.
This week’s revelation that a working group advising Secretary Salazar and President Obama did not include the six-month moratorium on gulf drilling activity in its list of recommendations only serves to highlight what everyone in our state and region has feared since the explosion and spill began in April. The Obama Administration will use this tragic event to radically alter our nation’s domestic energy supply and cause more damage to the Gulf region than any hurricane has or ever could do to our way of life. The manipulation of these professionals on the working group to further the extreme energy agenda of the President is frightening.
As the news trickled out this week that the working group document was amended by Secretary Salazar after it was submitted to include the six-month moratorium, you would think a firestorm of controversy would erupt. Democrats and Republicans alike would feverishly work to overturn the moratorium immediately, by pressuring the Administration publicly and privately and then with legislation if need be. A majority of the working group submitted a statement that could not be more emphatically clear on how harmful the moratorium is to Louisiana and the Gulf region.
“A blanket moratorium is not the answer. It will not measurably reduce risk further and it will have a lasting impact on the nation’s economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill,” the letter says. “We do not believe punishing the innocent is the right thing to do.”
While a plethora of Republicans and a handful of Democrats from the Gulf region have weighed in publicly this week, Secretary Salazar remains firm that the moratorium will continue in effect, discounting the concerns of a majority of his own working group. Why the wall of general silence from most Democrats in Washington, DC?
I think they can best be summed up by remarks conveyed to me by some Democrat government relation’s professionals over dinner I had this week in DC. One such person whom I spoke with is from Seattle and I suggested a good comparison to our current situation would be with Boeing. “Imagine if a 787 jet blew up for some general reason (not related to terrorism) and the Secretary of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administrator shut down most aspects of plane production at Boeing’s huge facilities in the Seattle metropolitan area.” “Well, that would be absolutely devastating to the region and the state of Washington, as there are over 60,000 jobs at risk for Boeing alone.” “Yes,” I said, “and Louisiana has upwards of 100,000 jobs at risk if this moratorium is not reversed immediately.” “Well, we should not be drilling in the Gulf anyway.”
There you go. Secretary Salazar and President Obama know that large chunks of the Democrat base do not believe we should even be drilling in the Gulf, so any thoughts about how Boeing jets can secure the necessary fossil fuels for its jets is not even an afterthought. Who gives a damn about rough necks, longshoreman, supply drivers, or to the parishes whose schools and law enforcement are funded by offshore drilling in the Gulf? This is the Sword of Damocles the Governor and our Congressional Delegation is facing; can Louisiana survive this perilous situation? Are we to be sacrificed on the altar of environmental extremism dressed up, as “just more regulations to make sure everything is safe?”