Saturday, August 21, 2010

Appeasing his loony base is his first priority

Obama knew Gulf drilling ban would cost at least 23,000 jobs

By: Mark Tapscott

Interior Department officials knew beforehand that President Obama's six-month moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico would cost more than 23,000 jobs and inflict devastating economic damage throughout the region.

Even so, the administration was not deferred from defying a federal judge and doing it anyway.

Federal court documents examined by The Wall Street Journal reveal a July 10 memo to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar from Michael Bromwich in which he estimated that "a six-month deepwater-drilling halt would result in 'lost direct employment' affecting approximately 9,450 workers and 'lost jobs from indirect and induced effects' affecting about 13,797 more.'"

The Journal also reports that Bromwich said it would be better to implement a revised regulatory process, but concluded, "I guess the moratoria approach is necessary because the MMS cannot be trusted to regulate." That's the Interior agency formerly known as the Minerals and Mining Service, which oversaw federal regulation of drilling rigs in the Gulf.

The first Obama drilling ban was thrown out by U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman, who said the measure was being imposed "arbitrarily" and without regard for the "irreparable harm to businesses" it would cause. The administration changed some wording here and there and went ahead with the six-month ban.

Although it was supposedly intended only to temporarily suspend deepwater drilling operations in the Gulf, critics say it has also forced a slowdown or halt of drilling operations in shallow water and onland in some Western states.

The American Energy Alliance, an industry supported research and advocacy group, cites a study by two Lousiana State University professors who estimate nationwide economic losses from the ban at $2.7 billion.

Go here for the full story from the Journal.

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