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Guilty as charged

April 21, 2011

As noted earlier, Micheal Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, denied this week that the Obama administration prolonged a moratorium on the oil industry’s deepwater activities following the Gulf Coast oil spill last year.

To quote Forbes’ Christopher Helman, “Am I wrong to consider a lack of permits to be evidence of an effort not to issue permits?”

Rather than buckling down and actually approving permits, Bromwich gave a speech on Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He didn’t announce any new permits, he just complained about those of us trying to get idle Gulf workers back to exploring for oil. He called it “sniping.” I call it “dealing in reality.”

Of course, Bromwich left out a few pertinent facts in his speech:

  1. The Obama administration shut down oil exploration in the Gulf’s deep waters for an entire year — penalizing not one, but all operators.
  2. The Obama administration was not only found in contempt of court but also later slapped with an injunction for ignoring a federal order. Judge Feldman found that the President’s moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was “arbitrary and capricious.”
  3. The Obama administration handicapped the livelihoods of 320,000 Louisiana workers hired directly or indirectly by the oil and gas industry — penalizing not a few, but all employees.

    Yesterday’s Fuel Fix reported on a number of residents suffering because of the President’s energy policies. Here’s just one example, “The moratorium hurt us as much as the spill hurt us,” said Tony Alford, president of the South Central Industrial Association, which represents 200 businesses in four southern Louisiana parishes. “Even a year later, we’re still feeling the effects. There’s still some anger at BP, but it’s more of a government thing now.”

  4. The Obama administration’s energy policy has made us more dependent on foreign, unstable nations to meet our energy needs — jeopardizing the energy and national security protection of all Americans.

    In 2010, the United States reduced its reliance on foreign oil imports from 57 percent of consumption in 2008 to 49 percent. The Obama administration’s de facto moratorium has reversed that trend. The Obama administration’s own Energy Information Agency forecasts that liquid fuel net imports will average 9.5 million barrels a day in 2011 and increase to 9.9 million barrels a day (51 percent of total consumption) in 2012.

  5. The EIA continues to report that production in the Gulf of Mexico is in decline “due partly to the moratorium and restricted permitting.” EIA expects production from the Federal Gulf of Mexico (GOM) to fall by 190,000 barrels a day in both 2011 and 2012. Energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie puts that loss closer to 375,000 barrels a day.

Source: Department of Energy, Energy Information Agency, Short-term Energy Outlook for April 2011

Mr. President, Secretary Salazar and Director Bromwich, if holding you accountable is “sniping,” I plead guilty.

Jim Adams

Jim Adams
President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association


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