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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