Thursday, June 10, 2010

Obama's Katrina

Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families has the latest on President Kick-Asses' waterloo.

So far, the Gulf oil spill has not inflicted on Barack Obama the kind of damage George W. Bush sustained from Hurricane Katrina. But that might be about to change. AnABC/Washington Post poll released this week found that 69% of Americans have a negative view of the government’s response to the oil spill, compared to 62% who disapproved of the government’s response to Katrina. That was before this news.

As oil invades Louisiana’s marshes and storms the beaches of Florida, Pajamas Media reports that the Packgen company of Auburn, Maine, has lots of containment boom sitting in a warehouse, but no one will buy it. Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar three weeks ago letting him know about Packgen and its ability to quickly make more boom. Why is it just sitting there? Sounds like a practical use of stimulus funds to me. But there’s more…

Remember that six-month ban on deepwater drilling that the administration imposed after the spill, which now threatens tens of thousands of jobs in the Gulf? Secretary Salazar reportedly suggested the ban to President Obama on the recommendation of a panel of experts selected by the National Academy of Engineering.

As it turns out, the seven scientists agreed to no such thing. They have now released a letter demanding the ban be lifted or that their names be removed from the report. Here is an excerpt of their letter:

“…we do not agree with the six month blanket moratorium on floating drilling. A moratorium was added after the final review and was never agreed to by the contributors. …A blanket moratorium is not the answer. It will not measurably reduce risk further and it will have a lasting impact on the nation’s economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill. We do not believe punishing the innocent is the right thing to do.”

Ken Arnold of the National Academy of Engineering blasted Salazar, writing in a separate statement, “The Secretary should be free to recommend whatever he thinks is correct, but he should not be free to use our names to justify his political decisions.”

In addition, energy industry experts are warning that Obama’s six-month ban may turn into a two-year ban or longer. Oil companies can’t afford to let those deepwater rigs sit idle. If they can’t drill in the Gulf, they will tow them somewhere else and start new wells. In addition, they will likely sign multi-year contracts for those new locations.

In other words, if Obama doesn’t lift the ban soon, there’s a good chance there won’t be any deepwater drilling in the Gulf at all six months from now or even a year from now. That might please radical environmentalists and their liberal Democrat allies in Congress, but it will diminish supply sooner or later, and you will feel more pain at the pump. Worse, tens of thousands of Americans who depend on those oil jobs will be unemployed.