After being rebuked by federal courts, President Obama’s secretary of the interior, former U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO), announced that the ban on offshore drilling would be lifted. Not so, in a practical sense, says Elizabeth Ames Jones, a commissioner on the energy regulating Texas Railroad Commission.
Commissioner Jones said, “While I am glad this day has come, it has taken too long to end a moratorium that was shot down by federal courts due to being ‘arbitrary and capricious.”
However, as Commissioner Jones further indicates, Washington bureaucrats are now telling oil and gas operators they won’t be able to resume offshore drilling until the end of the year, at the earliest. They cite “limited resources” related to issuing new licenses and permits.
This will continue to be a hindrance until it’s resolved. Commissioner Jones added, “The real questions are how soon can the deepwater drilling industry get back up and running and when will more shallow water operations begin to come back online?”
According to a recent Southern Methodist University study, delays in permitting shallow water operations has put 40,000 jobs at-risk.
When asked about the new permitting process, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, Michael Bromwich, said, “My sense is we will have permits approved by the end of the year, by how much before the end of the year I can’t say and how many before the end of the year I can’t say.”
Wonder if President Obama told him, “Heck of a job, Brommy”? How fitting for a senior administration official to have no clue to what his agency will accomplish in the next two and half months.
What are the resources they claim to need? Have they shared this with President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget or Congressional appropriators?
Since the Administration and their liberal cohorts in Congress have been aggressively pushing for the ban, and are only relenting because of court pressure (and perhaps electoral strategy), it shouldn’t be surprising that there would be some convenient delay.
Commissioner Jones is correct when she said permits need to be “issued in a timely and brisk manner so that the moratorium is, in every sense of the word, over.”