Late this afternoon the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dealt the Obama administration another blow. Obama’s drilling moratorium in the Gulf which had been declared “illegal” by United States District Court Judge Martin Feldman has now been declared to be “illegal” by the Fifth Circuit.
This, of course, is good news for all who make their livelihood in that industry…from the people who work on the rigs to the people who work in the refineries, to the people who earn their living from those who work on the rigs and who work in the refineries.
Actually, it’s also good news for the American taxpayer. 6% of our nation’s annual GDP comes from Gulf oil production, as does 30% of the oil consumed in this country, not to mention the millions of dollars each year that is paid to the government in the form of royalties from those businesses that drill oil in the Gulf.
But, most rigs have not returned to the Gulf to resume drilling even though Judge Feldman initially lifted the moratorium over two weeks ago, and, they may not now. Why?
After Feldman overturned the moratorium in June, [Secretary of the Interior] Salazar announced he would issue a new, refined moratorium that reflects offshore conditions. [And, after today's ruling]Gray, the [Department of] Justice lawyer, said Salazar was still considering crafting a new moratorium.
As Jim would say, that’s certainly stepping on the oxygen hose.
Well, what the hey, who needs millions in annual royalties, one third of our annual oil consumption and, 6% of our annual GDP anyway.
The BP oil disaster is just that, a disaster. But, we don’t ban all automobiles because a multi-car pile up on the interstate kills many, or ban all airplanes because a plane crash kills all. Common sense must govern our decisions.
Somewhere along the line it appears to me, at least, that this administration has forgotten common sense.