Posts Tagged ‘Gulf Coast offshore drilling’

New Ban on Offshore Drilling

Friday, July 16th, 2010

The residents of the Gulf Coast states remain in limbo as their economic future will once more be debated in court. After its ban on deepwater offshore drilling was struck down by a Louisiana judge, the White House imposed an even more extensive ban. The original moratorium banned deepwater drilling, defined as drilling in waters of more than 500 feet in depth. The courts struck down the ban on the ground that it was arbitrary and exceeded the scope of executive authority. The new moratoriums imposed by Interior Secretary Salazar, acting on behalf of the Obama administration, applies to any deep-water floating facility with drilling activities, irrespective of depth. The ban imposes considerable hardship on the Gulf Coast states, as the local economy depends upon the oil industry. CNN estimates the oil industry in the Gulf Coast to contribute $150 billion annually to the local economy, well in excess of the tourism industry. And of course, this ban comes at a time when the fishing industry is already suffering the consequences of the oil spill. Public concerns about risk management protocols must be addressed, but an outright ban fails to do that while imposing considerable hardship on communities that are already suffering.