The White House: Focused, Laserlike, on Job-Destruction

by Little Miss Attila on November 17, 2010

So now they are going to take their sweet time with an enviornmental review of the Gulf Disaster that will probably take all year next year, and suggests that 2011 will be the first year since 1965 that the Federal government sells no new leases in the Gulf of Mexico at all. Added to the Gulf disaster last spring–and the regulatory foot-dragging since then–this will likely mean a two-year gap in Gulf development, at the worst possible time for the economy.

As Jane Van Ryan of the API explains:

At a hearing on Nov. 16, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement indicated the next lease sale might not occur until May 2012.

And who cares how many jobs are lost that way?

The Interior Department’s plan to complete supplemental environmental reviews could prevent the U.S. government from holding a Gulf of Mexico lease sale next year . . .
[T]he government plans to complete a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), gather public comments, and finalize the EIS. While the industry is hopeful that the work can be done quickly and adequately address any environmental concerns, it is quite possible [now almost certain] that no sale will be held before 2012.

This means that there could be a two-year gap between the holding of lease sales. Combined with the recent moratorium on deepwater drilling, the current lack of permitting for offshore projects, and general regulatory uncertainty, the impact on the Gulf Coast economy, domestic oil and natural gas production, and especially jobs could be dire. Studies by Wood MacKenzie and IHS Global Insight indicate that tens of thousands of jobs are at risk when oil and gas production is taken off the table.

“The delay will depress the creation of new jobs at a time when too many people are out of work because of the economy and the moratorium impacts,” Erik explained.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Gazprom announced that it has purchased 30 percent of the Malaysian-owned exploration blocks in Cuba’s offshore waters. Under the agreement, Gazprom’s petroleum exploration arm Gazprom Neft will begin drilling next year.

So far companies from at least six countries have signed agreements to develop Cuban offshore resources as close as 50 miles from the U.S. coast, where they are not under the jurisdiction of U.S. safety guidelines. The 48-year-old trade embargo prevents U.S. companies from drilling in Cuban waters.

This is the worst-timed piece of craziness yet; they’ve had months to do an Environmental Impact Review. This is just more needless foot-dragging.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: