Shutting the Stable Door After the Horse Has Escaped

The Obama administration is shutting the stable door after the horse – a night mare  (I know that’s a terrible pun, but I couldn’t help myself) – has escaped. And the door is only partly closed. And only for a while.

What am I raving about?

That oil “spill” in the Gulf, what else?

The infamous Minerals Management Service has reportedly issued an edict banning new drilling in the Gulf “until further notice.” But, apparently, the ban applies only to deep-water drilling. And apparently, it’s just for six months.

An AP report quotes Kendra Barkoff, a spokeswoman for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, as saying:

There is a six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling. Shallow-water drilling may continue as long as oil and gas operations satisfy the environmental and safety requirements Secretary Salazar outlined in his report to the president and have exploration plans that meet those requirements. There is no moratorium on shallow water drilling.

According to the AP story, environmental groups are accusing the administration of misleading the public by allowing work to resume in waters up to 500 feet deep and maintaining a moratorium only on deep-water drilling.

As I understand it, the ban on drilling permits doesn’t end offshore oil operations. Many existing rigs remain active, inviting a repeat performance of the BP horror.

But the oil industry’s political allies are unabashed. They want to drill, baby, drill – regardless.

In a recent letter, Gulf Coast senators urged President Obama to allow shallow-water drilling. The senators said shutting down shallow-water rigs in the Gulf could cost some $135 million in revenues and affect at least 5,000 jobs.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has gone even farther. In a letter to the president, he pleads for deep-water drilling to continue. He adds:

I would ask that the federal government move quickly to ensure that all deep-water drilling is in proper compliance with federal regulation and is conducted safely so that energy production and more importantly, thousands of jobs, are not in limbo.

Where has this man been hiding? By now, everyone else must realize that the oil industry cannot be trusted to drill “safely” in deep water. And I, for one, wouldn’t let them drill in shallow water, either.

Find out just how (un)successful BP has been in plugging that horrendous gusher in the Gulf: