Planet Gore

The Moratorium is the ‘Real Gulf Disaster’

The editors of the WSJ write:

On Sunday Federal spill-response chief Thad Allen declared BP’s ruptured well “effectively dead.” Now if only Gulf residents weren’t stuck coping with the disaster the government created after the accident — namely, the federal drilling moratorium.

The White House has been struggling to justify this ban, which was motivated by anti-drilling politics, not science. So it came as no surprise that late last week — just as the well was about to be plugged — the Administration issued an “inter-agency report” suggesting its decision to effectively shut down the Gulf’s largest industry has caused little economic damage. File this one alongside the prediction of an 8% ceiling on unemployment.

According to the analysis, the expected six-month ban on deep-water drilling will result in 8,000 to 12,000 jobs lost. The report crows that “these estimates are lower” than those predicted by other studies and that, moreover, the jobs will “not be permanently lost,” but will return when the ban is lifted. It acknowledges the ban will result in a reduction of some $1.8 billion in spending by drilling operators over the six months and a loss of 30 million barrels of oil in 2011, but dismisses these figures as trivial.

For an Administration that loves to tout stimulus projects that create a handful jobs here or there, it takes some nerve to describe the loss of up to 12,000 high-paying Gulf jobs as a triumph. Also unmentioned in the report is that if the Administration had listened to its own outside experts — who insisted a moratorium was unnecessary — the jobs lost would have been near zero. It is the White House that handed the Gulf these pink slips — not the spill, or a poor economy.

The rest here.

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