Jane Van Ryan
Posted August 5, 2010
Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM), refused to give a date for ending the offshore drilling moratorium yesterday. In New Orleans at the first of eight public hearings on drilling safety, Bromwich only said "there will be a very serious, sustained effort" to shorten the moratorium. (AP)
API's Holly Hopkins attended the hearing and reported that many speakers supported a swift end to the administration's drilling freeze:
- Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) argued that BOEM is not being efficient in issuing shallow-water drilling permits and isn't adequately addressing the need for the moratorium;
- David Camardelle, the mayor of Grand Isle, recalled that President Obama said he would end the moratorium when the well was capped. No oil has been flowing from the well for nearly three weeks. He called on the president to keep his word;
- Terrebone Parish President Michel Claudet noted that 60 percent of his parish works in the oil patch and noted the moratorium is a huge threat to employment; and
- Lt. Governor Scott Angelle delivered a stirring plea to end the moratorium.
This wasn't the first time BOEM heard from Lt. Gov. Angelle. In mid-July he told Bromwich that the United States was in danger of "benching 74 percent of the shallow water drilling rigs by August 31, losing thousands of Louisiana jobs and crippling our economy in the process." He added:
"The simple truth is that over 32,000 shallow water wells have been drilled in the past 40 years--11,000 of those were in the last 15 years. In all of those instances, there have been only 20 well control events. A total of 15 barrels of oil has been spilled in the last 15 years of shallow water drilling. The evidence is clear that shallow water drilling does not possess a severity problem, nor does it have a frequency problem...It's time to answer questions, get the permits out the door and the shallow water industry back to work."
An API analysis shows that the combination of an indefinite moratorium and proposed congressional legislation could result in the destruction of 175,000 jobs each year and a 27 percent reduction in U.S. oil production. It's clear that government's response to the Gulf oil spill could have devastating consequences for the economy.
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