Senior Obama administration officials concluded the federal moratorium on deepwater oil drilling 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, according to previously undisclosed documents.
Let’s look at that paragraph again:
In the middle of a recession, and while the Gulf area was in the midst of a crisis, Obama still went ahead with the ban on offshore drilling, even when
Senior Obama administration officials concluded the federal moratorium on deepwater oil drilling would cost roughly 23,000 jobs
because not only
they didn’t trust the industry’s safety equipment
but also they didn’t trust
the government’s own inspection process
This is the same administration who just placed your healthcare on their hands and insists they can do a better job than you.
President Barack Obama and daughter Sasha swim at Alligator Point in Panama City Beach, Fla., Saturday, Aug.14, 2010. The President traveled to Panama City Beach with First Lady Michelle Obama and Sasha to meet with local business owners and officials and to encourage Americans to travel to the Gulf Coast beaches. August 14, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The official picture was intended to provide evidence that the region’s beaches are back to normal. Yet it soon emerged that the private beach on which it was taken, off Alligator Point in St Andrew Bay, north-west Florida, isn’t technically in the gulf.
It certainly is many miles away from the most affected areas off the Louisiana coast.
The president’s dip happened away from the media. The White House released an official photo, but The Associated Press does not publish such handout images. According to the White House, the Obamas swam off Alligator Point, which is in Saint Andrew Bay, not the Gulf.
TOTUS went along and, as Michelle said, the Gulf was open for scripted rhetoric;
Obama read off the TOTUS,
I also want to point out that as a result of the cleanup effort, beaches all along the Gulf coast are clean, they are safe, and they are open for business.”
Especially private beaches in Alligator Point off Panama City.
The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected, a piece of good news that raises tricky new questions about how fast the government should scale back its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The immense patches of surface oil that covered thousands of square miles of the gulf after the April 20 oil rig explosion are largely gone, though sightings of tar balls and emulsified oil continue here and there.
Reporters flying over the area Sunday spotted only a few patches of sheen and an occasional streak of thicker oil, and radar images taken since then suggest that these few remaining patches are quickly breaking down in the warm surface waters of the gulf.
Now the question is, will Obama undo that drilling moratorium?
Don’t count on it.
Due to a number of tasks that need to be completed this morning, there will be no podcast today.
Even after the well is finally capped, the damage done to our environment, to the Gulf of Mexico, and to our marshes, wetlands and beaches will take years to repair. There is another type of damage from this spill: its human impact. Thousands of lives, businesses and families are reeling.
Against this backdrop, the federal government unwisely chose to add insult to injury by decreeing a moratorium on deepwater drilling in the gulf. This ill-advised and ill-considered moratorium, which a federal judge called “arbitrary” and “capricious,” creates a second disaster for our economy, throwing thousands of hardworking folks out of their jobs and causing real damage to many families. Now this federal policy risks killing 20,000 more jobs and will result in a loss of $65 million to $135 million in wages each month.
To ensure that such a disaster does not happen again, should the federal government increase oversight, or require additional and better equipment or on-site federal inspectors, or even temporarily pause drilling at specific rigs for additional reviews? Of course. Could it? Of course. But by simply stopping all deepwater drilling, federal officials appear more interested in ideology and scoring political points — as they have done with the misguided cap-and-trade legislation — at the expense of Americans who derive their livelihood from the energy industry.
Let’s be clear: This moratorium will do nothing to clean up the Gulf of Mexico, and it is already doing great harm to many hardworking citizens. The effects will extend well beyond Louisiana. Since the moratorium was announced, America has already lost two rigs to foreign countries. More drilling companies are negotiating right now to work elsewhere. Every time we decrease our level of production, we make America more dependent on foreign sources of energy.
As part of what BP calls an “integrity test,” a robotic submersible slowly closed a valve on the well’s new sealing cap. That choked the flow until the plume, a fixture of cable TV and many a nightmare, disappeared. The technological breakthrough came 87 days into the crisis, which began with the April 20 blowout that killed 11 workers and sent the burning rig Deepwater Horizon to the bottom of the gulf.
Chris Cillizza would have you believe that the Gulf Oil spill fades as issue; I expect that the Obamamedia will work that meme hard from now until the Congressional elections, and beyond into 2012. For instance, we will be reading fewer and fewer reports on the dismal condition in the Gulf states, and on the disastrous decision to have a moratorium on offshore drilling. Andrew Malcolm, however, has a different roundup:
Here’s the kind of daily news the crowd currently controlling the Capitol confronts:
Americans disapprove of U.S. President Barack Obama’s handling of almost every major issue and are deeply pessimistic about the nation’s direction, offering a bullish environment for Republicans in the November congressional elections, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.
A majority or plurality disapproves of Obama’s management of the economy, healthcare, the budget deficit, the overhaul of financial market regulations and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a Bloomberg National Poll.
And the same poll found almost six in 10 Americans regard Obama’s signature Afghan war effort as a lost cause.
After more than a year of healthcare and financial reform debates as the controlling Democratic agenda, the economy in general and jobs in particular remain by far the voters’ top concerns in a new Gallup Poll.
The economy was cited by 31% of respondents, and jobs by 22%. The next closest category was 11%. But that, ominously for incumbents facing elections, was “dissatisfaction with govt/Congress/politicians/poor leadership/corruption/abuse of power.”
Seven in 10 lack confidence in their current member of Congress of either party, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, and nearly six in 10 now lack faith that Obama will make the right decisions for the country.
Other than that, Captain Smith, it looks like smooth sailing ahead through this ice field.
Diamond Offshore announced Friday that its Ocean Endeavor drilling rig will leave the Gulf of Mexico and move to Egyptian waters immediately — making it the first to abandon the United States in the wake of the BP oil spill and a ban on deep-water drilling.
And the Ocean Endeavor’s exodus probably won’t be the last, according to oil industry officials and Gulf Coast leaders who warn that other companies eager to find work for the now-idled rigs are considering moving them outside the U.S.
Devon Energy Corp. had been leasing the Endeavor to drill in the same region of the Gulf as BP’s leaking Macondo well, which has been gushing crude since a lethal blowout April 20.
But Diamond announced Friday it will lease the rig through June 30, 2011, to Cairo-based Burullus Gas Co., which plans to send the Endeavor to Egyptian waters immediately.
Devon is one of three companies that has cited the deep-water drilling ban in trying to ease out of contracts to lease Diamond rigs. Diamond, a drilling company, said it expects to make about $100 million from the deal, including a $31 million early termination fee it recovered from Devon.
Uncertainty doesn’t make for a healthy business environment,
Larry Dickerson, CEO of Houston-based Diamond, signaled that other of his company’s rigs could be relocated, too.
“As a result of the uncertainties surrounding the offshore drilling moratorium, we are actively seeking international opportunities to keep our rigs fully employed,” Dickerson said. “We greatly regret the loss of U.S. jobs that will result from this rig relocation.”
Once the rigs relocate, it could be a minimum of five to 10 years before they return, predicted Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land.
Obama imposed an arbitrary six month drilling moratorium on the Gulf and appointed a study commission rigged with anti-drilling ecomentalists. Predictably, the owners of oil rigs are going to move to places like Brazil, Africa, and so on where they’re allowed to work. The economic damage to the Gulf region is thus compounded. It’ll take years for the Gulf oil industry to recover. It’ll take years for the Gulf economy to replicate the high-paying jobs associated with the energy sector. And it’ll take years for the US to match the lost domestic production.
According to Gov. Jindal, well over 300 miles of Louisiana coast is now impacted by the BP oil spill. Not only is the spill affecting Louisiana but the Obama administration has ordered a moratorium on certain Gulf of Mexico rig drilling that is hurting the Louisiana economy and many of families and businesses already hurt by the oil spill.
COOPER: So, this is the exact same logic that federal wildlife officials used to prevent CNN on two occasions from getting pictures of oiled birds that have been collected, pictures like — like the — well, that we’re about to show you which are obviously deeply disturbing, pictures of oiled gulls that we just happened to catch. Suddenly, we were told after — after that day we couldn’t catch it anymore. So, keeping prying eyes out of marshes, away from booms, off the beaches is now government policy.
When asked why now, after all this time, Thad Allen said he had gotten some complaints from local officials worried people might get hurt. Now, we don’t know who these officials are. We would like to. But transparency is apparently not a high priority with Thad Allen either these days.
Maybe he is accurate and some officials are concerned. And that’s their right. But we’ve heard far more from local officials about not being able to get a straight story from the government or BP. I have met countless local officials desperate for pictures to be taken and stories written about what is happening in their communities.
We’re not the enemy here. Those of us down here trying to accurately show what’s happening, we are not the enemy. I have not heard about any journalist who has disrupted relief efforts. No journalist wants to be seen as having slowed down the cleanup or made things worse. If a Coast Guard official asked me to move, I would move.
But to create a blanket rule that everyone has to stay 65 feet away boom and boats, that doesn’t sound like transparency. Frankly, it’s a lot like in Katrina when they tried to make it impossible to see recovery efforts of people who died in their homes.
If we can’t show what is happening, warts and all, no one will see what’s happening. And that makes it very easy to hide failure and hide incompetence and makes it very hard to highlight the hard work of cleanup crews and the Coast Guard. We are not the enemy here.
We found out today two public broadcasting journalists reporting on health issues say they have been blocked again and again from visiting a federal mobile medical unit in Venice, a trailer where cleanup workers are being treated. It’s known locally as the BP compound. And these two reporters say everyone they have talked to, from BP to the Coast Guard, to Health and Human Services in Washington has been giving them the runaround.
We’re not talking about a CIA station here. We’re talking about a medical trailer that falls under the authority of, guess who, Thad Allen, the same Thad Allen who promised transparency all those weeks ago.
Hope and/or change in action: CNN, which first cooed over Rev. Wright and then banished him down the infamous “Wright-Free Zone” memory hole within one week’s time during the election in 2008, and then literally baked a cake to display on the air to celebrate the first anniversary of the Obama-”stimulus” plan, is now complaining about the Obaministration’s attempts to block media access to the BP spill.
The United States is accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations in dealing with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The State Department said in a statement Tuesday that the U.S. is working out the particulars of the help that’s been accepted.
The identities of all 12 countries and international organizations were not immediately announced. One country was cited in the State Department statement — Japan, which is providing two high-speed skimmers and fire containment boom.
More than 30 countries and international organizations have offered to help with the spill. The State Department hasn’t indicated why some offers have been accepted and others have not.
A Taiwanese-owned, Liberian-flagged tanker, the A Whale, has been modified for skimming up to 500,000 barrels of oil-contaminated water a day. To put this in context, if the system works as intended, it could skim in less than two days an amount of oil equal to all the oil skimmed in the past 7o days of the ongoing Deepwater Horizon spill. The A Whale is designed to operate offshore where most skimmers have difficulty operating. It is currently in Norfolk, VA awaiting approval of separate waivers from the Coast Guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to allow it to begin testing. Because the A Whale would be operating well offshore it is not believed to require a Jones Act Waiver.
If you’re not tearing at your hair after reading that, read this report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune about federal red tape keeping other skimmers out of the gulf. And not just foreign skimmers, either: For instance, thanks to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, you need minimum levels of certain equipment aboard (like booms) or else it’s no go. This is where we’re at after weeks of oil gushing at a rate of around one Exxon Valdez every three or four days.
It’ll get worse. There are hurricanes on the area.
Art Horn, writing at OilPrice.com, describes the catastrophic potential of an oil-infused hurricane in the Gulf. Consider the series of missteps by the White House that has led up to this point, wherein the entire Gulf waits on pins and needles for the impending “Oilcane”: