The Interior Department first issued a broad drilling ban in May, which was challenged by several Gulf coast companies that service the drilling industry, and was struck down in June by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who said it was not justified. Last week a Federal Appeals court upheld Judge Feldman’s decision striking down the President’s ban.
Rather than continuing the appeals process to challenge the ruling through the judiciary as called for by the constitution, the president directed the Secretary of the Interior to re-impose the ban with different language as a way of getting around the judge’s order.
This time Salazar will allow some rigs to resume drilling, providing the drilling rig had adequate plans in place to quickly shut down an out-of-control well, that the blowout preventers atop the wells it drills have passed rigorous new tests, and that sufficient cleanup resources are on hand in case of a spill.
According to Industry officials it would be difficult to meet those conditions quickly, especially since the specifics of the new rule would not be issued for over a month. Therefore thousands of jobs could be lost, and as drilling rigs are moved to other countries chances are those jobs will be lost for a much longer than the 6 months of the ban.
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Mr. Salazar directed federal regulators to come up with interim rules by the end of August that would clarify the steps needed to resume operations. But he made clear that most rigs would remain barred from drilling in deep water through November.
His department characterized the moratorium issued on Monday as a refinement of the previous one that was rejected by the courts, not a retreat from it.
“Like the deepwater drilling moratorium lifted by the District Court on June 22, the deepwater drilling suspensions ordered today apply to most deepwater drilling activities and could last through Nov. 30,” the Interior Department said in briefing materials on the new ban.
“The suspensions ordered today, however,” the materials said, “are the product of a new decision by the secretary and new evidence regarding safety concerns, blowout containment shortcomings within the industry and spill response capabilities that are strained by the BP oil spill.
Wasn’t this the president who keeps on talking about getting off of foreign oil? That was just another Obama ruse.
The main lobby for the oil industry, the American Petroleum Institute, criticized the new order, saying it would worsen the economic hardship already being felt across the Gulf Coast.
“It is unnecessary and shortsighted to shut down a major part of the nation’s energy lifeline while working to enhance offshore safety,” Jack Gerard, the association’s president, said in a statement. “It places the jobs of tens of thousands of workers in serious and immediate jeopardy and promises a substantial reduction in domestic energy production. No certain and expeditious path forward has been established for a resumption of drilling.”
This new ban is just another example of Obama as the Imperial President. Sacrificing an entire industry and people’s livelihoods in order to gain what he really wants, a ban on drilling and cap and trade tax.