What a coincidence! Just as Democrats approach a shellacking in the midterms on jobs and the economy, the White House has decided to move up the end of an executive order that put tens of thousands of jobs at risk:
The Obama administration is preparing to end the ban on deep-water oil and gas drilling imposed after the BP oil disaster in April, lifting it more than a month ahead of schedule.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is set to make the official announcement during a conference call at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
“There have been meetings on this in the last few days — suffice to say, I think we are getting close to having in place something that would likely allow us to lift the moratorium,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Tuesday.
A month early? Try at least two months too late. A study conducted by Barack Obama’s own hand-picked commission showed that not only was the blanket moratorium no longer needed, it was never necessary in the first place. When did they tell the White House of these conclusions? Almost two months ago, in late August.
At the time, the White House insisted that more research was needed before they would lift the moratorium. The only data that has changed since then has been provided by the pollsters, not the scientists, and that points to political catastrophe not just in the Gulf but around the nation.
However, don’t expect work to begin again soon, nor the same level of exploration and production:
Since the April 20 explosion, Kish said, Interior has issued shallow-water permits at a 10 percent clip of its previous rate over the past two years. “I don’t know what business can run at 10 percent of what it normally does,” Kish said.
Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement, said Tuesday it would take at least four to six weeks before new deep-water-drilling permits are granted.
“It will take some time for companies to believe they have complied with the new rules and requirements,” Bromwich told reporters, according to Fox News. “We will need to do inspections on all the platforms before we can allow those permits.”
In other words, the moratorium may be lifted, but that may not make much difference at all to the industry.