Offshore drilling moratorium quagmire

I was against the deepwater drilling moratorium when the Obama administration put it in place last year following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Those of you who regularly read this blog have heard me rail against it ad nauseum. I’m all for safety, but this was like setting your house on fire because you’ve seen roaches. As my grandmother use to say, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

Now, no right thinking person can be against conservation and environmental stewardship. I’m certainly for it. I was out in that muck on several occasions in the weeks and months following the spill. It was revolting to see and very sad, especially for someone like me who is from south Louisiana.

Will the new deepwater drilling regulations eventually re-enforce our responsibilities to treat the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding landscape with respect? Yes, I’m sure they will. Increased safety is rarely bad. On the other hand, filling the coffers of a tyrant like Hugo Chavez is rarely good.


The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement confirmed last week that not one new deepwater drilling permit has been issued since the moratorium was lifted in October — not one.

“Our progress in processing permits has been slower than industry would like, but we are doing the best that we can with the resources we have,” Michael R. Bromwich, BOEM’s director, told attendees at a law Conference in New Orleans in December.

Brownwich basically said he doesn’t have the manpower to speed up the process. Don’t we hear this all the time? When the issuance of the Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) cards was going along about as smoothly as the evacuation of a nightclub on fire, the Coast Guard lamented that it didn’t, among other things, have enough personnel to increase efficiency.

Well, at least those of you who want smaller government should feel better.   


About the author

Ken Hocke

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.

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