American Elephants

Where Is Your Congressman? by The Elephant's Child

No Town hall meetings?  Absent from office hours?  Just where is your Congressman?  They have a lot to answer for, and a lot to explain!

(h/t: The Foundry)

Obama Knows Drilling Moratorium Will Cost 23,000 More Lost Jobs, Imposes it Anyway. by The Elephant's Child

When President Obama’s oil spill commission first met in July they said that the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf Coast was not part of their charge, and they would not investigate the rationale, the effectiveness or the impact of the moratorium. But once they began the New Orleans hearings, they changed their minds.  They did about a 180 degree reversal, and asked the head of the Interior Department agency that oversees offshore drilling for details of their review of rig safety.

Emeritus Professor of Economics Loren Scott from Louisiana State University said that about 50,000 wells have been drilled in the Gulf of Mexico with no problems.  The moratorium effects 33 offshore rigs, preventing a total of roughly 80.000 barrels per day of oil from reaching the energy market.

Dr. Joseph Mason, chair of banking at the Ourso School of Business at LSU, estimates between $65 to $135 million in wage losses per month among those who are employed — $487 million in lost wages in the Gulf region, and $797 million nationwide.  He also estimates $219 million in lost federal tax receipts, and $97 million in lost state and local tax revenue in Louisiana along.  These are conservative estimates.  His estimates do not account for any drilling rigs that simply up anchor and leave the region due to political uncertainty.

Senior Obama administration officials admitted that the federal moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf would cost “roughly” 23,000 jobs, but “went ahead with the ban because they didn’t trust the industry’s safety equipment and the government’s own inspection process.”

Michael Bromwich, newly appointed head of the newly formed Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, responded to commission demands that the Ban stays in place.  He said he will propose a replacement for the moratorium by the end of October, and leans against any exceptions.

With unemployment climbing again, what’s another 23,000 jobs?  A White House spokesman said the administration “well understood, and understands, the enormous importance of oil and gas to the region’s economy,” but the potential economic risks from another spill to other elements of the Gulf economy — such as fishing and tourism — also informed the administration’s deliberations,”especially as spill-response resources were fully engaged to address the BP Deepwater Horizon spill.” A spokesman for the Interior Department declined to comment on the documents filed this week in a New Orleans Court.

Secretary of the Interior Salazar has issued a new order banning most new deepwater drilling activities until Nov. 30, or prohibiting certain deepwater drilling, replacing the May 28 order that was struck down by federal Judge Martin Feldman in June.

People have been comforted by news reports that the oil in the Gulf has dissipated and cannot be found.  Unfortunately, there is an underwater plume the size of Manhattan Island around 1100 – 1300 meters down.

My impression is that the Obama Administration was deeply stung by criticism that he was not on top of the oil spill from Day One.  He wants to show now that he is going to keep the nation safe from another spill, however remote the possibility. The complete absence of leadership has been stunning.

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