President Barack Obama abruptly reversed course and announced that he will drop plans to pursue offshore drilling in some of the most promising oil fields within U.S. control.
The administration is proposing to ban drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico for at least seven years, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. That course reversal follows the April 20 explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which spewed an estimated 172 million gallons of oil into the Gulf.
Before the BP oil spill, President Barack Obama had proposed allowing drilling within 125 miles of Florida's Gulf Coast and on the Atlantic Coast from Delaware south to mid-Florida.
American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard warned that the administration’s decision could result in the loss of tens of thousands of American jobs, billions less in government revenues and an increasing dependence on foreign energy sources,
"The administration is taking the wrong approach in responding to the BP spill and in creating energy and energy jobs in this country," Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington, the top Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee said. "The plan to lock up vast portions of America's offshore energy resources is short-sighted and will lead to long-term job impacts."
Hastings concluded:" "The answer isn't to give up and say, 'America can't figure it out, we'll rely on other countries to produce our energy.' The answer is to find out what went wrong and make effective, timely reforms to ensure that U.S. offshore drilling is the safest in the world."
Doc is on target. Unfortunately, the President has again missed the mark when it comes to energy independence, our economy and jobs for American workers.
Don C. Brunell, President (DonB@awb.org)