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Drilling Ken Salazar

March 25, 2011

More than a month ago, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman ordered the Obama administration to decide within a month whether to grant a set of five permits for deepwater drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico. Feldman wrote that the foot-dragging administration’s “time delays at issue here are unreasonable” and told the feds to act in an “expeditious” manner to “restore normalcy to the Gulf region and repair the public’s faith in the administrative process.”

The Obama administration’s response? Last week, just under the wire on the judicial time limit, the White House won a stay from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Delay, baby, delay.

Unsurprisingly, the man who misled the public about scientists’ support for his overreaching moratorium now faces more charges of data doctoring. Louisiana GOP Sen. David Vitter called out Salazar and Bromwich for publicly low-balling drilling application figures. While the pair informed Congress that the administration has received fewer than 50 shallow water permits and that only six to seven deepwater permits are pending, the Obama Justice Department asserted in legal filings that “there are 270 shallow water permit applications pending, and 52 deepwater permit applications pending.” Which is it?

Jim Adams, president and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), further skewered Salazar’s book-cooking on the permit-orium: “There were 32 deepwater drilling operations already permitted when the president imposed his moratorium last year. Interior Secretary Salazar is merely allowing existing permit holders to resume their operations.”

OMSA reports that there are more than 100 deepwater development plans that have yet to be cleared to even become eligible for a permit. Salazar is “treating Gulf workers like peasants, tossing us work crumb by crumb and expecting us to be grateful,” Adams said. “We’re tired of fighting for scraps. We want to get back to work—all of us, not just a handful of crews.”

At least 13,000 jobs have been lost, according to Louisiana State University professor Joseph Mason’s latest estimates. Isn’t it high past time to send Salazar and his misery-inducing eco-radicals packing? How about exporting them to Brazil?

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