No Matter What They Call It, It’s Still A Drilling Ban

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The Obama administration says they lifted the moratorium on drilling for oil off the shores of the US. But since they aren’t issuing any drilling permits, or allowing stalled rigs to go back into production, the drilling ban continues. So does the damage to the economy.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

More than two months after the Obama administration lifted its ban on drilling in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico, oil companies are still waiting for approval to drill the first new oil well there. Experts now expect the wait to continue until the second half of 2011, and perhaps into 2012.

The administration says it is simply trying to enforce new safety rules adopted in the wake of the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which killed 11 workers and set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Environmental groups say the administration is right to take its time because the Gulf disaster exposed the risks of offshore drilling.

The actions of this administration have far-reaching consequences.

The impact of the delays goes beyond the oil industry. The Gulf coast economy has been hit hard by the slowdown in drilling activity, especially because the oil spill also hurt the region’s fishing and tourism industries. The Obama administration in September estimated that 8,000 to 12,000 workers could lose their jobs temporarily as a result of the moratorium; some independent estimates have been much higher.

The slowdown also has long-term implications for U.S. oil production. The Energy Information Administration, the research arm of the Department of Energy, last month predicted that domestic offshore oil production will fall 13% this year from 2010 due to the moratorium and the slow return to drilling; a year ago, the agency predicted offshore production would rise 6% in 2011. The difference: a loss of about 220,000 barrels of oil a day.

Drilling in waters of less than 500 feet also has been snared by the government’s increased scrutiny. Regulators requested modifications to 101 shallow-water drilling plans in 2010, compared with 59 such requests in 2009 and just 31 in 2008. Rig operators say drilling permits once approved in a matter of weeks have taken up to five months to process as the government introduced new rules.

It gets worse from there. Some companies are already packing up and moving there rigs elsewhere, and taking their jobs with them. It isn’t just employees of the oil companies losing out, either. Look at the case of Thomas Clements. His small business, that makes parts for oil rigs, has been absolutely devastated by the actions of this administration. And that’s just one example of one small business hurt by these policies. Just think of how many others are feeling the negative impact, not to mention the high price we’re now paying at the pump.

In a sane world, this would be top story for the network and cable news channels. Sadly, we’re no longer living in a sane world.