Obama Administration Further Tightens Restrictions on Offshore Oil Drilling

Obama Administration Further Tightens Restrictions on Offshore Oil Drilling


August 20, 20106:42 PM MST

The Obama-Salazar restrictions on drilling could impact economy, jobs.


If the US ever hopes to jumpstart its moribund economy it must aggressively develop all its domestic energy resources.


As I have pointed out in books such as The Future Factor andSeizing the Future, the US possesses within its borders, off its coastline, and in the Alaska region the energy resources to not only free the country from dependence on foreign oil, but also to transform the US into a net energy exporter.


By dramatically increasing domestic energy production we can lower the price of energy for US consumers and businesses and at the same time rake in hundreds of billions of dollars in revenues and taxes.


Goodbye budget deficit, hello prosperity!


Since most Americans favor a broad expansion of domestic energy production, it is not surprising that they are puzzled by the Obama administration’s energy policies, especially those related to offshore oil drilling. As I have I chronicled In earlier articles, the Obama administration seems determined to place as many restrictions as possible on offshore development of our rich oil resources both in the Alaska region and off the mainland US coast.

The Obama Administration has just announced that it will further curtail the development of America’s rich oil reserves by requiring “significantly more environmental review” before approving any new offshore drilling permits.


Interior secretary Ken Salazar, and Michael R. Bromwich, director of the offshore energy service, said that the government will conduct exhaustive environmental reviews of all new drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.


This new policy, along with the ongoing moratorium on most deepwater drilling in the Gulf pending completion of a study of the recent oil spill, will further restrict US energy development.


Under the new policy there will be much more environmental scrutiny of drilling applications, and the agency will have longer than the 30 days it currently has to decide whether to approve a drilling application. No new wells will be exempt from this intense new environmental review.


The American Petroleum Institute’s Erik Milito claims that the new rules will slow approval of new wells. Milito stated that “We’re concerned the change could add significantly to the department’s workload, stretching the timeline for approval of important energy development projects with no clear return in environmental protection.”


The NY Times reports that oil industry officials are worrying that “the new environmental, safety, technical and financial requirements will drive some companies out of business, discourage future exploration and worsen the nation’s dependence on imported oil.” The new rules will most likely raise the costs of developing new wells and slow their development.


Many feel the Obama administration is overreacting to the spill, and that existing regulations go far enough to provide reasonable safety. After all, the Obama administration itself admits that this “worst case scenario” oil spill has caused minimal environmental damage. And BPcapped the well quicker than originally expected.


By all accounts, the BP oil spill, while serious, was an anomaly.Since1947 over 50,000

wells have been drilled in federal water in the Gulf of Mexico largely without incident. 331 wells were drilled there in 2009 alone. 4,000 of those Gulf wells have been drilled in water deeper than 1,000 feet, 700 in depths of 5,000 feet.


Yet there has not been a major oil spill since 1969, and that was off the coast of California!

Critics fear that the new policy will cost the US jobs. The administration seems to give little thought to the people who will stay unemployed while these reviews take place. Oil drilling creates hundreds if not thousands of jobs, offshore and on land. By some estimates 150,000 jobs are provided by offshore oil and gas operations; thousands more will be created if we vastly expand our energy development industries.


With the announcement in late August that new jobless claims have broken the 500,000 mark, one would expect the administration to exhibit a greater sense of urgency to preserve current jobs

and create new ones. Perhaps the President will provide a bailout program for those made jobless by the drilling moratoria and new bureaucratic roadblocks to energy development.




In spite of the recent oil spill, the majority of the public still supports expanding the nation’s oil drilling program. As in the case of the health care bill, the Arizona immigration law, the stimulus package and a host of other issues, President Obama appears to be taking a position unpopular with the American people.




If polling data is any indication, the American public is ready to express their displeasure with such policies come November 2nd








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