• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Louisiana Senators to Interior Secretary: End Drilling Permit Logjam

    Interior Secretary Ken Salazar traveled to Louisiana on Monday to meet with oil and gas executives whose industry has been suffering from a “de facto” drilling ban since the government’s moratorium was lifted. Both of the state’s senators said Salazar failed to adequately address the core issues causing the logjam.

    Salazar’s trip to Houma to meet with industry leaders was made in exchange for Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) lifting of her hold on Jack Lew, President Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget. The state’s other senator, David Vitter (R-LA), told Salazar that the Obama administration needs to resolve at least a few big-picture issues to end the logjam on Gulf drilling permits.

    Vitter spoke on the phone with Salazar Saturday and sent a letter Sunday to lay out specific regulatory issues that he said need to be resolved so permits can again be issued at their pre-moratorium levels. Among the unresolved regulatory issues Vitter mentioned: the staffing of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, the agency that issues drilling permits; developing regulatory certainty and defining rules; and shifting the focus from shallow water permits solely to both shallow and deepwater permits.

    After meeting with Salazar, industry executives were not pleased by what they heard. James Noe, general counsel of Hercules Offshore Inc. and director of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition, told reporters, “The only commitment we received from the secretary is that he’s going to meet with us again in December.”

    More than a month has passed since the Obama administration lifted the six-month deepwater drilling moratorium, but few permits have been issued since then, thanks to stringent permit requirements. The ban was imposed as a safety and environmental precaution after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but has come under growing skepticism after the Interior Department’s inspector general concluded that a drilling safety report made it falsely appear that the moratorium was supported and peer reviewed by scientists and other experts.

    Vitter expressed frustration for the lack of progress from Salazar’s meeting:

    All of us from Louisiana hoped to hear some new policy, some permitting breakthrough, maybe a handful of new permits approved. But we heard none of that – absolutely nothing.

    I told the secretary that this permit logjam had to change – this vital industry is virtually shut down.

    In a statement released after the meeting, Landrieu expressed “disappointment” that Salazar did not outline steps to lift the “de facto” moratorium.

    Salazar said, “We will continue to work with the industry and stakeholders to provide certainty and ensure that everyone understands the rules of the road.” He also agreed to Vitter’s request to follow up on the discussions and suggestions made Monday and meet again in Washington, D.C., with industry leaders.

    Unless Salazar addresses these regulatory issues, permit issuance will not reach its previous rates anytime soon and the Gulf Coast economy will continue to suffer.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Louisiana Senators to Interior Secretary: End Drilling Permit Logjam

    1. PippN, Severna Park says:

      Here we go again. O'Bubbles and his Dopeycrat political appointees have absolutely no clue about what they are doing. So again, they stall to make it appear they are doing something, When in effect, the Dopeycrats are doing more damage than the spill.

      It's time LA just starts drilling and tells O'Bubbles and his ineffectual talking heads to take a hike. Talk about a do nothing administration? Let's talk about it. Maybe all that hot air will have an effect.

    2. Bobbie says:

      The president has his agenda. Ignorance is necessary to further his cause.

    3. Ron, Port Fourchon says:

      Ken Salazar is a worthless piece of human garbage and should be in jail for forgery. I am pretty sure that he committed forgery when he added that paragraph after the scientists had signed it.

    4. Alex Miller, Leeds, says:

      Einstein said: "The definition of insanity is to do something over and over again, always expecting the results to change"…

      Expecting anything other than what we see (inaction, lies and un-American solutions) as "solutions" to our current problems is really a new version of a definition to Insanity.

      Wont happen unless and until we send these inept, incompetent boobs packing!

    5. Jill, California says:

      Time for a revolt. The States should take back control from the federal government and issue their own permits.

    6. TJS, FL says:

      Obama is sabotaging our economy. Impeach Obama.

    7. MONTE LA says:

      The truth has been revealed for some time teh moratoriun is unconstitutional in so many ways.
      A czar unelected altred a document to advance a political agenda to satify a religious cult based on false teachings
      I still do not know understand why the companies invoved will not sue the us for all ost income and damages it will be the final nail in the coffin for this administration
      Happy thanksgiving

    8. Pingback: Government Speeds Permitting for Wind Farms as Gulf Drilling Continues to Lag | Big Propaganda

    9. pletcherzwb says:

      Nothing in life is to be feared.It is only to be understood.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×