Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Permitorium in the Gulf Persists

In case you missed it, there was a great editorial at NOLA yesterday about the Obama administration's permitorium and the need to open drilling in the Gulf:

The best way to protect consumers against price spikes in the long run is to continue expanding oil exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. President Obama in May announced his goal to increase domestic oil production. But producers in the Gulf are still complaining that a de facto moratorium imposed after the BP oil spill last year hasn't been fully lifted. 

And for more background on how we got to this point, be sure to read Adam White's piece at The Weekly Standard which explains the attempts in Congress to compel the administration to handle the permit applications that are now just stacking up. 

The official moratorium has been lifted, yes, but drilling permits are not happening.  To date, only one well permit has been approved:

According to the House Oversight Committee’s recent report, the administration’s official moratorium “was replaced by a ‘permitorium’—whereby drilling activity remained at a standstill not by operation of law—but because of inaction on the part of [Interior].” As proof of the “permitorium,” the House report noted that before the Deepwater Horizon spill, Interior had “processed and issued permits to drill in two weeks”; since the moratorium ended last year, only one new well had been approved. In the words of Judge Feldman, “Where there should be a queue” of applications receiving orderly review, “there is instead an untended pile.”

Obama's decision to release oil from the strategic oil reserves was purely a political move.  White's piece makes the case that the current situation is not so dire that such a move needed to be made. 

Obama's poll numbers were/are plummeting and he's in campaign mode (when did he ever get out of it?), so he releases the oil reserves hoping for a bounce.  It didn't work.

If Obama wants a bounce in poll numbers, he needs to open drilling in the Gulf.  End the nonsense.

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