"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Bill Clinton Criticizes Obama Admin For “Ridiculous Delays In [Oil Drilling] Permitting When Our Economy Doesn’t Need It”

March 14th, 2011 by mopns · No Comments

Politico reported on Friday, “Former President Bill Clinton said Friday that delays in offshore oil and gas drilling permits are ‘ridiculous’ at a time when the economy is still rebuilding, according to attendees at the IHS CERAWeek conference. Clinton spoke on a panel with former President George W. Bush that was closed to the media. . . . But according to multiple people in the room, Clinton, surprisingly, agreed with Bush on many oil and gas issues, including criticism of delays in permitting offshore since last year’s Gulf of Mexico spill. ‘Bush said all the things you’d expect him to say’ on oil and gas issues, said Jim Noe, senior vice president at Hercules Offshore and executive director of the pro-drilling Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition. But Clinton added, ‘You’d be surprised to know that I agree with all that,’ according to Noe and others in the room. Clinton said there are ‘ridiculous delays in permitting when our economy doesn’t need it,’ according to Noe and others.”

Former President Clinton isn’t alone in admonishing the Obama administration for its “ridiculous delays” in issuing offshore drilling permits. The [New Orleans] Times-Picayune editorialized earlier this month, “On Feb. 17, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman of New Orleans gave the department 30 days to act on five permits that had been pending for between four and nine months. Judge Feldman called that wait ‘unreasonable,’ agreeing with a challenge brought by driller Ensco Offshore Co. ‘The permitting backlog becomes increasingly inexcusable,’ the judge said. ‘Delays of four months and more in the permitting process are unreasonable, unacceptable and unjustified by the evidence.’ Judge Feldman is right.”

And CNN Money recently looked at the ongoing cost of this administration’s foot-dragging on offshore production. “The Energy Information Administration estimated the country would lose 74,000 barrels a day in oil production in 2011 as a result of a six-month drilling moratorium.” But it’s not just energy the country loses out on. Jobs, too, are tied to domestic energy production. “According to the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, over 38,000 people are either directly or indirectly employed by the deepwater drill rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. In Louisiana alone, 320,000 depend on the oil and gas industry for work,” CNN Money wrote. “It’s not known exactly how many people have lost their jobs due to the slowdown in activity. . . . But the nation’s second largest shallow-water driller, Seahawk, filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, citing a lack of permits.”

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell offered his own critique. “[T]his administration in the last two years has been shutting down wells. Senator Vitter from Louisiana had a whole list of rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and where they have been moved around the world. Bureaucrats making it very difficult to get permits. There has been a conscious effort to make it difficult to drill in this country. Both on shore and offshore by the bureaucrats who have been appointed by this administration and president. Noting that there has been a slight uptick in production doesn’t get to the heart of the problem. Sixty percent of our oil is coming from overseas. That’s unacceptable.” As Leader McConnell concluded, “We have vast reserves in this country, particularly in Alaska. My goodness, when are we going to use our own reserves and quit depending so much on areas of the world that don’t like us?”

Related:

As Energy Prices Rise, Obama Admin Policies Prevent Exploration, While Senate Dems Push For Tax Hikes

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