Tag: Drilling moratorium

President’s Speech on Energy was Short on Taking Responsibility

Manufacturers agree with President Obama’s comments Wednesday on the need to increase domestic oil and gas production. Domestic energy producers want new exploration and drilling and to resume projects that were forced to shut down under the moratorium imposed last spring.

While the Administration is advocating for greater domestic production, it simultaneously is preventing the permit process from operating in a timely and efficient manner. The Administration bears the responsibility to grant leases and permits for exploration and production to begin. Implicating domestic energy producers for lack of action, shortage or delay is irresponsible and inaccurate. It is time this Administration follow the policies it proposes. Action is required, not additional oratory.

The National Association of Manufacturers supports an “all of the above” approach to energy supply. To successfully compete in a global marketplace, American manufacturers must have reliable, affordable and secure energy sources. By increasing domestic production and incorporating renewables into a larger energy portfolio, manufacturers will be protected from the unpredictable price swings that come along with foreign energy sources, providing the stability needed for manufacturers to grow, create high-paying jobs and invest in the future.

Mahta Mahdavi is NAM director for energy and resources policy.

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API Analysis: Offshore Permitting Delays Threaten U.S. Jobs

The American Petroleum Institute (API) released a study this morning on the negative impact the delays in offshore drilling in the Gulf will continue to have on the US economy and energy security. The analysis by Wood Mackanezie supports what the National Association of Manufacturers has pointed out in the past -– delays in permitting have had and will continue to have detrimental impact on the U.S. economy and domestic energy.

According to the study, an estimated 125,000 jobs can be lost by 2015 and approximately 680,000 barrels of oil a day could be at risk by 2019. The delay on permitting continues even though the moratorium on offshore drilling was lifted in November of last year. This stems from the fact that companies are now faced with new procedures and guidelines in order to secure permits to resume their activities in the Gulf. These requirements mean companies can no longer rely on the old applications which they submitted for a permit. They now have to go back to the drawing board, re-start their application process and go through the steps of applying for a permit all over again.

This continued delay is devastating to the U.S. economy as it has and will continue to cause a great deal of job loss which this country cannot afford, especially with an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent. More delays will only lead to companies leaving the U.S. shores to drill in foreign waters and reduce domestic oil supply. Drilling off the coast of Brazil or West Africa does a lot less to create U.S. jobs than drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Stalled Drilling is Harmful to the Economy

Today’s Wall Street Journal article “Drilling Is Stalled Even After Ban Is Lifted” simply points out what manufacturers have been facing all along – the lift on the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico seems to be in name only and not in practice.  Although the Obama administration lifted the moratorium two months ago, manufacturers are still waiting for the green light to resume drilling. Companies are now faced with new procedures that will make receiving a permit a long and drawn out process.

This delay has a significant economic impact on manufacturers and other industries throughout the Gulf Coast and the nation.  According to the White House’s own assessment, approximately 8,000-12,000 people could lose their jobs as the delay in permitting continues.  The nation cannot afford this type of job loss, especially during a time when the unemployment rate is as high as 9.8%.  Additionally, any further delay will have considerable impact on the domestic oil supply where it is estimated that there may be a loss of 220,000 barrels of oil per day.

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Unserious About Energy Independence

From President Obama’s remarks, cited at the White House Blog in a Feb. 5, 2009, post, “Serious about energy independence“:

Washington may not be ready to get serious about energy independence, but I am. And so are you. And so are the American people.

Inaction is not an option that is acceptable to me and it’s certainly not acceptable to the American people – not on energy, not on the economy, and not at this critical moment.

Department of Interior news release, Dec. 1, 2010, “Key Modifications Based on Ongoing Reforms, Unparalleled Safety and Environmental Standards, and Rigorous Scientific Review“:

[The] area in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico that remains under a congressional moratorium, and the Mid and South Atlantic planning areas are no longer under consideration for potential development through 2017.

Statement, Jack Gerard, President and CEO, American Petroleum Institute, Dec. 1, 2010, “Extension of offshore ban to halt job creation, economic growth“:

This decision shuts the door on new development off our nation’s coasts and effectively ensures that new American jobs will not be realized. It will stifle investment, deny billions in revenue for critical government services and increase our dependence on foreign energy sources.

The oil and natural gas industry is committed to safe and environmentally responsible operations, and both the industry and regulators have added new safeguards to ensure such operations.This reversal on new lease sales off America’s coasts comes on top of a de facto moratorium, which has all but stopped new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Dec. 1, “Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on Obama Administration Decision to Block Offshore Energy Development Efforts in Virginia“:

I am extremely disappointed that the Obama Administration has unilaterally blocked environmentally responsible, and economically crucial, offshore energy exploration and development in Virginia, along the Atlantic Coast and throughout other broad swaths of offshore territory nationwide. This is an irresponsible and short-sighted decision. It demonstrates a complete lack of confidence in the entrepreneurial spirit of American industry and its ability to fix the problems experienced in the Gulf spill, and no confidence in the ability of the U.S. government to better plan for and react to offshore emergencies. …
(continue reading…)

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Disappointment over Interior’s Meeting on Gulf Drilling

Jim Noe, executive director of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition, issued a statement after the members met in Louisiana with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Assistant Secretary Tom Strickland, and Director Michael Bromwich of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE). The group appreciated the meeting. However, …

[We] are disappointed that the federal government gave us no commitments at this meeting. While candid discussions are important to frame the issues, unfortunately the time for discussion has passed for many of our most expert and productive drillers in the Gulf. For them, the continual slowdown in permitting has gone situation critical, leaving them with the uncomfortable choice between economic ruin or leaving the Gulf entirely for other regions of the world. In either case, American workers, businesses, and consumers are paying the price.

As our industry’s track record demonstrates, shallow-water drillers remain committed to the highest standards of safe and responsible drilling practices and design. However, the continued radical uncertainty over what is sufficient to meet new government pronouncements has slowed activities in the Gulf’s shallow waters to a trickle, diminishing both the security and economic vitality of the United States.

Suffice to say, we are ready to get back to work. We hope that today signals the long awaited point where action at the Interior Department will match the rhetorical commitment to let Gulf Coast communities get back to work providing clean and secure fuels. The thousands of workers whose livelihoods depend on the Gulf of Mexico’s shallow-water industry are counting on it.

Interior issued a news release, “Salazar, Bromwich Encouraged by Progress of Operators to Comply with Higher Offshore Oil and Gas Standards.” There’s really no news in the statement, although we do learn that BOEMRE is encouraging people to study petroleum engineering.

And once again — see our post this morning — Interior can’t manage to refer to the energy coalition by its name. C’mon. Now you’re just being rude.

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Drilling IS Energy Security

In government and journalism it’s usually considered bad form to paraphrase another group’s name in a news release or article. You’re supposed to refer to the group at least once by the name it chooses to call itself and then shortening is OK. (Shortening for headlines is understandable, however.)

This old rule of civility came to mind this morning as we read the media advisory from the Department of Interior about Secretary Ken Salazar’s visit to Lousiana to meet with people affected by the Obama Administration’s drilling moratorium. From the advisory, headlined, “Salazar to Meet with Shallow Water Drilling Coalition in Louisiana“:

HOUMA, LA - On Monday, November 22 Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Assistant Secretary Tom Strickland, and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich will meet with representatives of the shallow water drilling coalition. Following the meeting, Secretary Salazar will hold a brief media availability to discuss ongoing efforts to improve the safety of offshore drilling.

The group calls itself the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition.  From its info page:

Our nation’s jobs and energy security remain at risk due to a regulatory blockade that is being imposed by the Obama administration on America’s energy producers. Unless regulators start issuing permits and plans for safe oil and gas drilling, we cannot produce the energy America needs.

Unfortunately, the federal officials at the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has imposed a “one size fits all” approach to permitting that ignores the strong track record of the shallow water drilling industry. The recent history of shallow water permitting in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico is a cautionary tale for those who profess optimism about the end of the deepwater drilling moratorium. Although the moratorium on shallow water drilling was lifted in May 2010, permit approvals have been nominal.

Obviously the coalition promotes drilling, but its arguments also represent legitimate advocacy for energy security.

It’s understandable that Interior staff are cranky about the Secretary being maneuvered into this meeting by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), but it’s only polite to refer to the organization you’re meeting with by its real name.

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Dispatch from the Front: The Week of November 22

Congress is again away, only to return lame-duckedly next Monday, Nov. 29.

President Obama and Vice President Biden travel to Kokomo, Ind., on Tuesday for a White House to Main Street event, because “with the help of the Recovery Act and the Administration’s auto restructuring plan, Kokomo is on the rebound today and unemployment has dropped by nearly 8 percentage points since mid-2009.” On Wednesday, the President pardons a turkey.

Thursday is Thanksgiving, and the National Association of Manufacturers will be closed Thursday and Friday.

The Senate reconvenes on Monday,  Nov. 29, at 2 p.m. and will return to the debate on S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. (No pro forma sessions are scheduled this week. The Senate’s consecutive three-days absence means the President could make recess appointments.)  The House reconvenes at 2 p.m. Monday.

Executive Branch: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar travels to Louisiana today to meet with people whose livelihoods have been harmed by the capricious Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium and continued permit delays. The meeting with the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition takes place in Houma, La., at Gulf Island Fabrication, a manufacturer.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission meets Wednesday to vote on the final rule for a public safety complaint database.

Economic Reports: The big news of the week comes Tuesday, when the Federal Reserve will release the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s Nov. 2-3 meeting where the decision was made to engage in further quantitative easing. The Fed’s report will also contain updated economic forecasts. Also Tuesday, the Commerce Department releases the revised third quarter GDP figures, and the Realtors announce October existing home sales.  On Wednesday, Commerce releases durable goods for October, as well as reports on personal income, spending and new home sales for last month. AP’s week ahead. See also Washington Post’s Neil Irwin.

For all the attention paid to this year’s post-Thanksgiving retail sales, this year the real Black Friday — in the traditional doom-laden sense — is Dec. 31, the day before the return of the death tax and higher income tax rates unless Congress acts to extends the 2001 and 2003 levels.

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Demanding Accountability on the Drilling Moratorium

A news release from three Senate Republicans: “EPW GOP Members Want Hearing on Browner’s Editing of Moratorium Report“:
 

Washington, D.C.-Senators James Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and David Vitter (R-La.), Republican Members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, demanded openness and accountability from Carol Browner, the President’s top climate change policy official, and architect of the Obama cap-and-trade agenda. 

Inhofe, Barrasso, and Vitter called on EPW Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to hold a hearing on findings by the Interior Department’s Inspector General that an official in Browner’s office edited the Interior Department’s report on the Obama Administration’s Gulf drilling moratorium.  The official edited the report to say that independent scientists who reviewed it agreed with the moratorium when in fact they did not. 

In 2008, Sen. Boxer convened a hearing examining allegations that Bush White House officials interfered with decisions at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Center for Disease Control. Senators Inhofe, Barrasso, and Vitter strongly urge Sen. Boxer to pursue similar oversight of Carol Browner and her staff. 

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin. Also here.

Earlier at Shopfloor …

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What the Drilling Moratorium Tells Us: Fear Czars Without Portfolio

Funny. We always thought Carol Browner was de facto EPA Administrator. Turns out she’s really the de facto Secretary of Interior.

From Politico, “Interior inspector general: White House skewed drilling-ban report:

The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report.

In the wee hours of the morning of May 27, a staff member to White House energy adviser Carol Browner sent two edited versions of the department report’s executive summary back to Interior. The language had been changed to insinuate the seven-member panel of outside experts – who reviewed a draft of various safety recommendations – endorsed the moratorium, according to the IG report obtained by POLITICO.”

As Ed Morrissey points out at Hot Air: “This is no mere academic exercise. Thousands of people lost their jobs because of this supposed instance of sloppy editing, and the delay it created in safe exploration and drilling may impact the region for years, as well as America’s energy independence.”

The IG’s report certainly bolsters the argument for House oversight hearings into the role of Browner and other White House appointees on energy and climate policy issues. Talk show host Hugh Hewitt this week asked Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) about the possibility of subpoenaing Browner and other appointed “czars” for oversight hearings. “You bet,” said Upton, who is seeking the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit. Chris Horner has sharp commentary here, as well.

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We’ll Create Jobs by Raising Taxes on Energy

From The Washington Examiner, “Some Hill Dems cringe at Obama’s $50 billion spending plan”:

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who is at odds with the Obama administration over its decision to suspend drilling for oil in the Gulf, refused to endorse the plan on Monday, though she is undecided.

“Sen. Landrieu has been and continues to be skeptical of paying for otherwise-beneficial proposals with tax hikes on the oil and gas industry,” said her spokesman, Aaron Saunders. “While these tax increases may be politically popular in some areas of the country, they have a disproportionately negative effect on working families in the Gulf Coast where much of the industry is located. Sen. Landrieu fully supports getting America’s economy back on track, but feels that it should not be done at the expense of the Gulf Coast.”

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