Obama’s Interior Chokehold on America

Obama’s Interior Chokehold on America

By Jim
Adams

How could a bureaucratic bottleneck in the Gulf of
Mexico cost the U.S. economy nearly $20 billion and wipe out hundreds of
thousands of jobs as far away as Ohio, Pennsylvania and
California? Unfortunately, with this White House administration, anything is
possible.

President Obama recently announced yet another jobs
initiative — knowing all the while that one very simple action on his part
would indeed create new jobs, infuse federal and state budgets with billions of
dollars, and make us less reliant on imports. But that didn’t
happen.

On Oct. 12, 2010, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said,
“We’re open for business,” signaling that drilling for new oil in the Gulf of
Mexico would resume. But, Mr. Salazar has an odd interpretation of the words
“open for business.”

Eleven months after the Secretary’s announcement,
drilling in the Gulf remains near a standstill. The government has used every
stall tactic imaginable to delay permits and other administrative approvals that
would help our economy and put hundreds of thousands back to
work.

The Gulf
Economic Survival Team
(GEST) commissioned IHS Global Insight and IHS CERA
Inc. to quantify the economic impacts of the government’s slow pace of
permitting since lifting the moratorium. Their study revealed that the number of exploration plans and
permit applications are on par with levels in 2009 through early 2010, clearly
signaling the industry’s intent to return to full operations. Industry also has
invested billions of dollars in well containment technology to stop a
Macondo-size spill if it ever became necessary. So safety can no longer be
blamed for permitting delays.

That leaves the Department of the Interior. The
IHS study points to a backlog of project approvals. Despite their earnest
efforts to process the growing stack of applications, regulators on the front
line don’t appear to understand the new regulations that Washington D.C. has
foisted upon them.  The blame for this falls squarely on the shoulders of this
Administration’s politically appointed bureaucrats, who know nothing of the
complexities involved in safe and environmentally sound deepwater drilling.
Naturally, they don’t let expertise or experience get in the way, they just pile
on more regulations.

This politically minded bureaucracy comes at
tremendous cost.

The number of people who depend on a thriving oil and
gas industry is staggering. Another research study, by
Quest Offshore Resources, found that energy production in the Gulf of Mexico
employed 240,000 Americans in 2010. And not all of them worked directly for the
oil and natural gas industry, as oil rigs need everything from steel pipes to IT
support.

What’s more, the effects of the government’s continued
foot-dragging isn’t limited to the Gulf. The study’s authors found that for
every industry job tied to operations in the Gulf, three non-industry jobs are
reliant in sectors such as manufacturing, construction and real estate. And for
every three Gulf Coast workers, there’s one American employed elsewhere — in
New York, Michigan, California, Oklahoma, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois
and nearly every other state.

The Quest study also came to a distressing conclusion:
Had the Administration truly lifted the moratorium last October, the industry
would have created nearly 190,000 more jobs in the U.S. over a three-year
period. That would have meant 8,500 additional jobs in California, where
unemployment currently flirts with 12 percent; 10,000 more jobs in Pennsylvania
and Ohio, manufacturing-dependent states; and in the President’s home state of
Illinois, a total of 3,000 jobs.

Keeping Americans out of work. Denying struggling
state and local governments billions of dollars in additional revenue. Making us
more dependent on energy imports. Is this the change Mr. Obama says we can
believe in?

Or can we only believe in shovel-ready jobs if they’re
created by the alternative energy industry? Would we even be having this
yearlong debate if solar energy producers contributed more than $12 billion a
year in tax and royalty revenues to state and federal treasuries? What if hydro
energy producers accounted for $44 billion of GDP? The only thing separating
190,000 Americans from a paycheck and states from more than $7 billion in local
taxes is obvious: Political will.

President Obama talks about job growth, stimulating
the economy and investing in innovation that will lead the way forward, but
turns a blind eye to an obvious, if not practical, solution. Mr President: Lift
your de facto moratorium on energy exploration in the Gulf of Mexico; business
will safely do the rest.

Jim Adams is president and CEO of Offshore Marine
Service Association, which represents the owners and operators of U.S. flag
offshore service vessels and the shipyards and other businesses that support
that industry.

Obama’s strange sense of humor

Obama’s strange sense of humor

Ed
Lasky

Believe it or not, Barack Obama is cracking jokes
about the horrific fires in Texas. I guesshe won’t be using Bill Clinton’s old
line, “I feel your pain,” when people complain about the terrible economy. How
presidential, how
empathetic
:

At a Silicon Valley fundraiser Sunday, the president
took a jab at Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, saying that he’s a
governor whose state is on fire, denying climate
change
.”

Aside from the fact that this is just a cheap
political shot at the expense of Americans who are suffering, it is just not
funny and weird. Furthermore, it is just un-presidential and grossly
insensitive.

Hasn’t Barack Obama talked about empathy quite a bit
over the years? He all but made that a qualification for choosing Supreme Court
Justice nominees. He has  talked about the need for being each others’
keepers.

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