Bill Clinton blasts drilling and permit delays at forum

posted at 12:15 pm on March 12, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

I think I’m beginning to really miss The Big Me:

Former President Bill Clinton said Friday that delays in offshore oil and gas drilling permits are “ridiculous” at a time when the economy is still rebuilding, according to attendees at the IHS CERAWeek conference.

Clinton spoke on a panel with former President George W. Bush that was closed to the media. Video of their moderated talk with IHS CERA Chairman Daniel Yergin was also prohibited. …

Clinton said there are “ridiculous delays in permitting when our economy doesn’t need it,” according to Noe and others.

This came at the same conference where Clinton made remarks supporting a no-fly zone in Libya and saying that the US should not let Libyan rebels “twist in the wind, as we are now,” as one questioner put the issue to him.  Bill Clinton sounds a lot more like George W. Bush these days than Barack Obama.  In fact, that comparison was easy to make, thanks to Bush’s presence at the conference, and Clinton himself made it:

“Bush said all the things you’d expect him to say” on oil and gas issues, said Jim Noe, senior vice president at Hercules Offshore and executive director of the pro-drilling Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition. But Clinton added, “You’d be surprised to know that I agree with all that,” according to Noe and others in the room.

Both former Presidents agreed that one of the main issues in clearing offshore permits was getting workers back on the job.  And yet, as Jazz Shaw noted yesterday after Obama’s press conference, the number of operating rigs has dwindled sharply since the Deepwater Horizon failure almost a year ago.  We’ve dropped from 55 working rotary rigs in April 2010 to just 25 today.  The permitorium imposed by the Obama administration is the chief reason for the drop, and yet despite a court order, the White House continues to block efforts to get oil workers back on the job of producing American oil for American consumers.

I’ve been missing George Bush for more than two years.  Who knew I’d be missing Bill Clinton by this time?  Let’s hope we don’t get to the point where we’re missing …. Jimmy Carter.


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