The Deep-Water Oil Drilling Moratorium Is Another Example of the Politically Self Interested Nature of Government


Following the oil spill in the Gulf last month, President Obama proclaimed a six-month moratorium on all deep-water drilling, undoubtedly in the name of safety and for the public good. However, it appears that the moratorium is nothing more but a tactic to make Obama look good as a tough action taker, and that it would not increase safety and further the economic damage following the spill.

The Obama Administration represented the moratorium as a safety recommendation suggested in a report drafted by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and peer reviewed by experts associated with the National Academy of Engineering. However, those same experts are saying that they have been misrepresented, and that the moratorium was added to the report after they had signed off on it. They noted that they agreed to a moratorium on drilling of new wells, but not on shutting down existing operations.

A June, 17th Wall Street Journal op ed piece chronicles this and explains why the drilling moratorium is actually detrimental to safety:

A big reason why those experts would have balked is because they recognize that the moratorium is indeed a threat to safety. Mr. Arnold offers at least four reasons why.

The ban requires oil companies to abandon uncompleted wells. The process of discontinuing a well, and then later re-entering it, introduces unnecessary risk. He notes BP was in the process of abandoning its well when the blowout happened.

The ban is going to push drilling rigs to take jobs in other countries. “The ones that go first will be the newest, biggest, safest rigs, because they are most in demand. The ones that go last and come back first are the ones that aren’t as modern,” says Mr. Arnold.

The indeterminate nature of this ban will encourage experienced crew members to seek other lines of work—perhaps permanently. Restarting after a ban will bring with it a “greater mix of new people who will need to be trained.” The BP event is already pointing, in part, to human error, and the risk of that will increase with a less experienced crew base. Finally, a ban will result in more oil being imported on tankers, which are “more likely” to spill oil than local production.

This is a prime example of how those who control government operate to perpetuate their own self interests rather than act for the “good of the people.”

Tiny alternate link for this article: http://tinyurl.com/3xg7old

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