Energy & Environment

Obama To Louisiana: Drop Dead

Numerous speakers appeared before the President’s oil spill commission to plead for the resumption of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Even the commission, which did not contain one representative from the oil and gas industry, was inclined to support the lifting of the moratorium.

This commission was formed by President Obama to study the oil spill disaster and to make sure that another one does not happen in the future. There have already been hearings in both Washington, D.C., and New Orleans. Much is known about why the disaster occurred and the mistakes that were made by both BP and the federal agency charged with oversight of the drilling operations.

To prevent future mishaps, more vigorous oversight is needed, but drilling in the Gulf does not need to be stopped.

Unfortunately, the President decided to issue a six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling that will have a very negative impact on the economy of Louisiana. According to oil industry analysts, the moratorium will cost the state of Louisiana at least 46,000 jobs. Top positions in the industry are already being eliminated, and at least six rigs have left for foreign countries such as Egypt and the Congo. Once these rigs leave, they will not be coming back to Louisiana and the resulting job loss will be permanent.

When the initial deep-water drilling moratorium was struck down in the federal court, the President responded with another moratorium, disregarding both the directive of the judge and the wishes of the people of Louisiana. Even the President’s hand-picked science commission recommended against a moratorium.

The moratorium is not only harming our local economy, but it is also making our country more dependent on foreign oil and putting our national security at risk.

The administration is not content to stop all deep-water drilling in the Gulf. For all practical purposes, all new drilling in the Gulf has been brought to a standstill. Industry officials report that the permitting process for all drilling has been made so cumbersome that there is no new oil and gas activity in the Gulf. Reports are that major oil and gas employers in Louisiana are getting ready to cut massive numbers of jobs in the days ahead unless this moratorium is lifted and the permitting process is changed.

Does the President care that his decisions are causing major economic harm to Louisiana? According to Sen. David Vitter (R.-La.), the President is “waging war on Louisiana’s economy.” It certainly seems the goal of the administration is to inflict economic harm on the red state of Louisiana.

Avondale, a major shipyard located right outside of New Orleans, announced last week that it will be closing in 2013, which will result in the loss of 5,000 direct jobs and 7,000 indirect jobs. These are high paying positions that will not be replaced anytime soon. Next to Ochsner Health Systems, Avondale shipyard is the largest private sector employer in the New Orleans area, so the jolt to the local economy will be major.

Officials with Northrop Grumman, the defense contractor that manages the shipyard, stated that the highly paid jobs would be moved to another site out of state. This decision was necessitated by the administration’s reduction in the Navy’s ship building budget. Vitter claimed the Obama Administration’s “irresponsible budget decisions” caused the Avondale closure. Combined with the drilling moratorium and the President’s cancellation of NASA’s Constellation program and the loss of 2,000 aerospace jobs at the Michoud facility in New Orleans East, a total of 60,000 top quality jobs are being lost in Louisiana due to the misguided the policies of the Obama Administration.

When Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph complained to the President that his actions were costing Louisiana thousands of good jobs, Obama recommended that the newly displaced workers apply for unemployment benefits. The revealing response was an insight into the mind of the President. Obviously, in his view, seeking government assistance is a viable answer, not a last resort. Yet, his response is insulting to the hard-working people of Louisiana, who want to provide for their families, not become dependent on the federal government.

Sadly, Obama’s polices are negatively impacting the state, which delivered 59% of its vote to John McCain in the presidential election of 2008, In that campaign, Louisiana voters were smart enough to understand that the Obama agenda was misguided and would be detrimental to our state and national economy.

The wisdom of Louisiana voters to reject Obama is becoming more apparent every day. It is a real tragedy that the voters in the blue states did not possess the foresight of the Louisiana electorate. Our state, as well as the country, is now paying a very steep price for that decision.

Editor’s Note: If you would like to sign the petition to end the moratorium on drilling in the gulf, please click here.

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