The Obama Administration has announced it will lift the moratorium on deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico – about six weeks before it was due to expire next month. This move ends another key chapter in the tragic Deepwater Horizon saga and is also an important first step in restoring economic vitality to the Gulf region.
CEA would first of all like to thank all of our members and supporters for their help in making the case to lawmakers that the moratorium was unduly onerous and could cause lasting economic damage. For months, CEA has shined a spotlight on jobs, and the value that jobs in the energy sector provide to many local economies. What we are hearing today is that it was a concern about lost jobs that lead the Obama Administration to agree to an early end to the moratorium.
And now, since we continue to care more about sound results than symbolic gestures, we ask your continued support in watching what happens next and ensuring that drilling is indeed allowed to proceed under reasonable terms.
No one will soon forget last spring’s explosion: An oil industry that wants to continue to drill in the Gulf must be prepared to accept regulations that will keep their operations safe. What we need to avoid are regulations that are so onerous, or a permitting approval process so weighed down by red tape and delays, that they serve as a de facto ban even after the formal ban is lifted.
While the deep water moratorium was in place, there were widespread reports that it became quite difficult to obtain permits for shallow water drilling as well. Now that the moratorium has been lifted, a similar practice of failing to approve permits on a timely manner could severely limit drilling activity, costing the region more jobs.
As Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal noted Tuesday in response to news of the moratorium being lifted, The devil is always in the details. It will behoove us all to watch those details closely to make sure the Obama Administration makes good on its word.