Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Deep Water Drilling Permit Issued by Obama Administration

Much is being made in the press reports that a drilling permit for deep water oil drilling has been issued - the first one since the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April 2010. This is a bit misleading, as Rep Jeff Landry points out in his press release:

Congressman Jeff Landry (Republican, New Iberia), the House’s leading proponent of domestic oil and gas drilling, released the following statement after the Interior Department announced it approved Noble Energy’s deep water drilling permit:

“I’m glad to see the Administration is starting to come to its senses as the American people have been forced – since the time of the accident, the moratorium, and the unconstitutional de facto moratorium – to pay more at the gas pump. I certainly hope that over the course of the next few days, we will see additional permits issued and – in the very near future – we will get back to the level of permitting activity we had prior to the Deepwater Horizon Spill. However, it is important to note that this is not a new permit; this is basically an existing permit that has been re-authorized to do work and is just one of the permits that was suspended from drilling. I surely hope this is not a political stunt to take pressure off Secretary Salazar during his visit to the Hill this week.”

The Obama administration - Salazar - has been warned by the federal judge to get moving on issuing permits, as they have completely ignored or disputed the judge's rulings so far. Salazar is a hyper-partisan far left ideologue who is hell-bent to shut down domestic oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and other areas off our shores. He is easily seen as believing he is not under the judge's rulings.

He is very wrong and it is high time he stepped up and did his job. No doubt he is happy to allow the story to be reported as a big step in the oil drilling process.

It's a permit for Noble Energy to bypass a well it had already begun about 70 miles southeast of Venice, not far from BP's Macondo well that blew out last April. But regulators are confident that the new well won't have the same dangerous pressure problems that doomed BP's project last April.

Top offshore regulator Michael Bromwich -- director of the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement -- said the approval is a milestone, even though it's to resume work on a previously approved well and to drill around an obstacle.

Senator Landrieu and Governor Jindal weighed in on the permit, too:

"I hope that this permit is the first of many to come and I will continue to use every lever at my disposal to ensure that it is," she said in a statement. "While one permit is good, it's long overdue."

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also claimed some credit for the breakthrough, saying his administration had been working closely with Bromwich to get the industry back to work. He also said he wants to make sure the permits continue now to get back to a "critical mass so thousands of oil and gas industry workers can get back to work fueling America again."

So far the stunt aspect is prevalent - allowing it to sound as though it is a new drilling permit with new work being performed - and that is for public relations purposes for the administration. The test will be to track how long before more true new permits are issued. Bromwich says it will be weeks or months.

Hardly progress or good news.

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