Restrictions more apparent

A report issued Friday by Quest Offshore Resources Inc. reveals that if offshore drilling permits were being issued at the rate they were before the deadly April 20, 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, the petroleum industry could generate approximately 190,000 jobs by 2013.

In turn, energy production in the Gulf of Mexico would see a 70 percent boost, and a slump in the economy of oil and gas-producing coastal states would be eased. However, the likelihood of all this happening is slim.

When the federal government implemented its deepwater moratorium in May 2010 it was for more than a time to review offshore safety issues. It was an intentional move to stall the oil industry. Since the deepwater moratorium was lifted in October 2010, only 19 permits have been issued. Most of those were on already operational sites and many came at a time when President Obama needed a boost in the polls.

We reported in February of this year that the Obama administration, through its National Ocean Policy Coalition, was establishing a national coastal policy that would create extreme zoning restrictions against offshore exploration. This plan offered another example where efforts to promote a need for alternative energy were misdirected.

While the Quest report offers a positive outlook potential, the reality is that the White House has no intention of letting those 190,000 jobs go to oil and gas.

Elected representatives from Louisiana have fallen short in securing measures to restore petroleum production to their levels of 15 months ago.

While we support increased safety and accountability in offshore oil and gas operations, we believe it wrong to use a tragic incident as an excuse to completely shut down an industry.

On March 25, 1911, a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. in New York left 147 people dead and rightfully led to sweeping workplace and labor reforms. However, President William Howard Taft and the federal government did not attempt to shut down the entire garment industry either by an intention of punishment or for fulfilling a personal agenda.

One hundred years later, the impression given by President Obama is one of intentionally wanting to stall a primary segment of the national economy that impacts all Americans. That image is not likely to change. Neither is any expectation of drilling permits returning to pre-spill levels anytime soon.