The Spectacle Blog

Obama’s Dry Hole of an October Surprise

By on 10.12.10 | 4:43PM

While we are all surely and immensely grateful to the president for the ...how do I say this...not unpredictable pre-election de jure abandonment of the offshore drilling moratorium that has been killing the Gulf region and hurting Americans elsewhere, at the same time endangering our energy, economic and therefore national security, we also remain fully aware that it remains in place, de facto, until all permitting resumes at the normal paces.

That would be the surprise.

In the meantime, at least Dem. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana isn't falling for the move with Hosannas of praise.

Oh. And there's this.

UPDATE: From a Hill leadership aide:

--- In light of DOI's record on shallow water permitting , the prospects for deepwater permits remains grim. In the shallow water (where there has NEVER a moratorium), energy producers have been pursuing permits for over 4 months and have seen an approximate 90% drop-off in permits compared to pre-Deepwater Horizon. Ask yourself what business can afford to see a 90% drop-off in activity? Hence--- the de facto moratorium. Currently 24% of the shallow water rigs have been "stacked" with more to follow and 4 deepwater rigs have left the Gulf of Mexico.

--- The deepwater moratorium is just being replaced with a blanket of uncertain regulation. Two interim final regulations were placed with the Federal Register last week, but many more are forthcoming. Recall, last week Bromwich referred to forthcoming rulemakings for the OCS as a "dynamic regulatory environment." A "dynamic regulatory environment" is the OPPOSITE of certainty, which is what Gulf Coast energy producers need to be able to get back to work. In some ways, increased regulation is even worse than taxes because at least taxes come after a business has made some sort of profit. With excessive regulation, ultimate profitability is less certain and overseas investment (and the jobs that go with it) are more economic.

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