It’s beginning to appear as though the offshore drilling ban imposed by the Obama administration is gathering steam as a national news story, and it’s also beginning to appear as though the narrative coming out of at least some corners of the media holds that the moratorium was a bad idea.
Consider this exchange on Fox News’ Fox & Friends this morning (transcript to follow):
Gretchen Carlson: We have this new drilling ban issued by the White House. Remember, there was a moratorium, and then people brought it to court, and the judge ruled against the Obama Administration. Well now, this new moratorium makes that injunction mute. So now we’re back to having a six month moratorium. And keep in mind that one rig of the thirty three, I believe, has already left to go over to Egypt meaning loss of jobs.
Brian Kilmeade: That’s the Ocean Endeavour, picked up and left. Diamond Offshore said ‘I’d like to stick around we’re just losing too much money.’ So they pick up and went. They said they regret leaving. They know how many U.S. jobs they left behind, but they had to go. Sen. Mary Landrieu … a Democrat in Louisiana. She is outraged that they’ve come up with another plan and another entry to the court system to try and keep the moratorium in place. She is saying that right now they have drilled 42,000 holes in the Gulf. There’s been one major catastrophe. One exception, she noted the ban is affecting tens and thousands of jobs. Why are we overreacting, this is my words not hers, but essentially this is the spirit of what she is saying, why are we overreacting to one exploding well?
Steve Doocy: That’s right, and that is in fact the reaction from the industry. And Hornbeck services which is one of the outfits who brought the original lawsuit down there in the New Orleans area, they say the fights not over, we’re going to continue to go with this because people are hurting. Here’s Michael Heck the CEO of Economic Development Group for greater New Orleans on the impact of this stoppage.
Michael Heck: Many of these workers, many of these families are really middle class families. They have kids that they’re putting through college based on these livelihoods. And you’re right, its good that BP today is taking care of the immediate cash flow issues. But after that money runs out, if there’s no industry left, then these families, these workers, they’re going to have to translate either to new careers or new geographies and that’s going to be a very traumatic disruption.
Brian Kilmeade: So it’s ideology over jobs? Is that what we’re really about? Is this about an administration who was so against oil that ran really against big oil and the tax breaks they got and sees this as an opportunity to forward a clean energy agenda? Or is this an administration who is just legitimately very concerned about this happening elsewhere right away?
Gretchen Carlson: Yeah but they had that. Didn’t they have a panel of scientists, I think its made up of seven, during this whole time who came back, at least five of them, the majority, and said that there is no real threat of this happening again. We should not be doing this, but that report somehow has been lost in the shuffle. One of the Republican members of Congress down in Louisiana, Bill Cassidy, said ‘there’s no logic behind what they’re doing. It seems to be a knee-jerk response. It doesn’t seem rooted in what the scientists told us to do.’
That back and forth, of course, came before this afternoon’s statement by Obama’s blue-ribbon oil spill panel voiced support for shortening or ending the moratorium. Sen. David Vitter put out an exultant statement following that announcement:
“I’m not surprised that members of the oil spill commission have had a change of heart after meeting with Gulf Coast residents who are suffering under the Obama administration’s moratorium,” said Vitter. “I’ve been saying all along that the moratorium is an overreaction that defies all common sense, but I guess they needed to get out of Washington, D.C., and see the situation on the ground in order to realize that. As President Obama last visited our area over a month ago, he should take the counsel of his commission and change his position on the moratorium as well.”