The Obama administration late Friday appealed a judge’s orders directing the Interior Department to act on several Gulf of Mexico deepwater drilling permits.
The appeal is the latest salvo in the ongoing fight over the speed with which Interior is – or isn’t – letting oil drillers get back to work after last year’s BP oil spill.
Gulf state lawmakers and the oil industry have accused the department of enacting a “de facto” moratorium against new drilling, while Interior says it needs to ensure safety and environmental protections are in place.
Friday’s appeal challenges rulings by Judge Martin Feldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, who on Feb. 17 gave Interior 30 days to make a verdict on five pending deepwater drilling permits applications. He later added two additional permits to that order.
The Washington Times re-caps Obama’s record on energy policy.
President Obama has intentionally hamstrung domestic energy production under the delusional theory that the U.S. economy can thrive on so-called green power. As Mideast turmoil threatens the oil supply, the price of domestic crude has jumped above $100 a barrel and gas at the pump now exceeds $3.46 a gallon. This shows just how dangerous the Obama administration’s economic and energy policies can be to our wallets.
There can be no doubt that the president took deliberate action to block access to the nation’s energy resources. A federal judge recently found the Interior Department in contempt for ignoring his order overturning the oil-drilling moratorium the administration imposed following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. On Feb. 22, Judge Martin Feldman upped the pressure by insisting that the department act on five pending permits within 30 days. Permits that would, under normal circumstances, be processed in two weeks have been ignored for four to nine months. “Not acting at all is not a lawful option,” Judge Feldman wrote. The department had no choice but to issue the first permit since the spill on Feb. 28.
Interior pinned the blame for delays on technical problems. Yet, as the department dithered, oil companies atrophied and employees lost work. According to a study released in January by the business alliance Greater New Orleans, Inc., the moratorium cost Louisiana about 25,000 jobs. Houston-based Seahawk Drilling, the most recent victim of the drilling ban, announced Feb. 18 that it had filed for bankruptcy and agreed to a buyout from a competitor. The jobs of the company’s 494 employees are in jeopardy, according to USA Today.
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget proposal calls for imposing a $4 per acre fine on oil and gas companies for land on which they currently hold leases but are not drilling. This gimmick helps the O Force imply that the industry is holding off on drilling in the hope that shortages will drive up prices.
When you reduce the supply of a commodity without a decrease in demand, prices go up. This is economics 101. But Obama doesn’t know economics 101, and that’s why we have a 14 trillion dollar national debt, and a 1.65 trillion dollar budget deficit.
Make no mistake – this is a tax on business and individual consumption. We are losing jobs because of Obama’s refusal to allow companies to increase the supply and reduce the prices that Americans pay for energy.