Today the Obama administration announced a “new and improved” version of the Gulf oil drilling moratorium. This, after a federal district court, and a federal circuit court of appeals have both declined to immediately enforce the older version of the moratorium.
This time, though, things are different. Instead of placing the moratorium on all rigs drilling in over 500 feet of water, the moratorium applies to all rigs drilling in the Gulf.
Let me note here, that after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, all rigs in the Gulf were inspected by the government, and, except for two minor violations which were corrected, all rigs passed with flying colors.
The new moratorium will remain in place until November 30, in order to enable the commission, appointed by the president, to “investigate” the causes of the explosion. That would be the same commission that has no members that are drilling engineers, no members that are familiar with the construction of drilling rigs, but all members who have publicly taken a stance against drilling even before being appointed by the president.
So, it’s back to the courts again, starting from the beginning, to test the legality of the “new and improved” moratorium. That may not matter though as rigs are already leaving the Gulf because their owners are signing leases with other countries.
Meanwhile, Gulf oil drilling accounts for almost one third of the oil consumption in this country, accounts for 6% of our nation’s GDP, and, were that not enough, billions of dollars in royalties paid to the federal government. Perhaps the president’s commission can deal with those facts, too.