During the last several days, numerous speakers appeared before the President’s oil spill commission to plead for the resumption of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Even the commission, which did not contain one representative from the oil and gas industry, was inclined to support the lifting of the moratorium.
This commission was formed by President Obama to study the oil spill disaster and to make sure that another one does not happen in the future. Yet, there have already been hearings in both Washington D.C. and New Orleans. Much is known about why the disaster occurred and the mistakes that were made by both British Petroleum and the federal agency charged with oversight of the drilling operations. To prevent future mishaps, more vigorous oversight is needed, but drilling in the Gulf does not need to be stopped.
Unfortunately, the President decided to issue a six month moratorium on deep water drilling that will have a very negative impact on the economy of Louisiana. According to oil industry analysts, the moratorium will cost the State of Louisiana 46,000 jobs. Top positions in the industry are already being eliminated, and rigs are already leaving, one has departed for Egypt and another one is going to the Congo. Once these rigs leave, they will not be coming back to Louisiana. The resulting job loss will be permanent.
When the initial deep water drilling moratorium was struck down in the federal court, the President responded with another moratorium, disregarding both the directive of the judge and the wishes of the people of Louisiana. Even the President’s hand-picked science commission recommended against a moratorium. The moratorium is not only harming our local economy, but it is also making our country more dependent on foreign oil and putting our national security at risk.
The administration is not content to stop all deep water drilling in the Gulf. For all practical purposes, all new drilling in the Gulf has been brought to a standstill. Industry officials report that the permitting process for all drilling has been made so cumbersome that there is no new oil and gas activity in the Gulf. Reports are that major oil and gas employers in Louisiana are getting ready to cut massive numbers of jobs in the days ahead unless this moratorium is lifted and the permitting process is changed.
Does the President care that his decisions are causing major economic harm to Louisiana? It seems the goal of the administration is to inflict economic harm on the red state of Louisiana. Yesterday, it was announced that a major shipyard, Avondale, located right outside of New Orleans will be closing in 2013, which will result in the loss of 5,000 direct jobs and 7,000 indirect jobs. These are high paying positions that will not be replaced anytime soon. Next to Tulane University, this shipyard is the largest private sector employer in the New Orleans, so the blow to the local economy is major.
The defense contractor Northrop Grumman which manages the shipyard announced that they will be closing the shipyard and moving the jobs to another site. This was caused by an overall decline in the administration’s ship building budget. Coupled with the drilling moratorium and the cancellation of NASA’s Constellation program and the loss of 2,000 aerospace jobs at the Michoud facility in New Orleans East, the policies of the Obama administration are costing the State of Louisiana approximately 60,000 top quality jobs.
When Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph complained to the President that his actions are costing Louisiana thousands of good jobs, he recommended that the newly displaced workers apply for unemployment benefits. The revealing response was an insight into the mind of Obama. Obviously, in his view, seeking government assistance is a viable answer, not a last resort. Yet, his response is an insult to the hard working people of Louisiana, who want to provide for their families, not become dependent on government.
Sadly, Obama’s polices are negatively impacting the state, which delivered 59 percent of its vote to John McCain in 2008, In that election, Louisiana voters were smart enough to understand that the Obama agenda was misguided and would be detrimental to our state and national economy.
Everyday the wisdom of Louisiana voters to reject Obama is becoming more apparent. It is a real tragedy that the voters in the blue states did not possess the foresight of the voters in Louisiana.
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Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected]