LED Secretary Requests the National Commission on BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Speed Up Its Work
BATON ROUGE (June 23, 2010) - Louisiana Economic Development Secretary, in a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the co-chairs of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, requested that the Commission speed up its work because of the economic harm the drilling moratorium will cause on Louisiana and its workers.
The full text of the letter is below:
June 23, 2010
Mr. William K. Reilly
Mr. Bob Graham
Secretary Ken Salazar
RE: Speeding up the work of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling
Dear Mr. Reilly, Mr. Graham and Secretary Salazar:
I am writing to express our grave concern about the slow pace of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling (Commission), as well as to urgently request that you proceed with the utmost haste to complete this work as soon as possible.
Mr. Reilly recently was quoted by The New York Times suggesting that the Commission will not officially begin its work until mid-July and that its report could be delayed until next year, well beyond the original six-month moratorium timeframe created by President Obama. In fact, Morgan Stanley has estimated that the moratorium could last 12-18 months. Given the devastating economic impact the deepwater drilling moratorium is expected to have on our state (assuming it is upheld by the courts), we are especially concerned that the work of the Commission is being postponed due to delays in naming the remaining members and securing Commission staff.
As Governor Jindal shared in his June 2, 2010 letter to President Obama and Secretary Salazar, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development expects that the federally imposed deepwater drilling moratorium will lead to the loss of more than 20,000 jobs in Louisiana, not including additional job losses in other Gulf states.
Moreover, there appears to be no logical basis for an across-the-board moratorium as opposed to alternative, more targeted measures. As Judge Feldman stated in his preliminary injunction ruling yesterday, "...the Secretary's determination that a six-month moratorium on issuance of new permits and on drilling by the thirty-three rigs is necessary does not seem to be fact specific and refuses to take into measure the safety records of those others in the Gulf. There is no evidence presented indicating that the Secretary balanced the concern for environmental safety with the policy of making leases available for development. There is no suggestion that the Secretary considered any alternatives: for example, an individualized suspension of activities on target rigs until they reached compliance with the new federal regulations said to be recommended for immediate implementation."
This six-month deepwater drilling moratorium is causing unnecessary hardship to thousands of hardworking Louisiana workers. To unnecessarily lengthen this damaging, illogical moratorium will only exacerbate these economic impacts even further.
Each month that the work of the Commission is delayed means another month that more than 20,000 Louisiana people won't be able to work in their jobs. Each month that the work of the Commission is delayed, we expect additional energy companies to move existing deepwater rigs to other parts of the world and/or to plan new deepwater drilling capacity for other parts of the world in lieu of the Gulf - further extending and expanding job losses in Louisiana. Each month that the work of the Commission is delayed will result in the loss of approximately $65-135 million in Louisiana wages. Each month that the work of the Commission is delayed will result in the loss of approximately $7-16 million in state and local tax revenue in Louisiana alone.
Moreover, the $100 million set aside by BP to offset the wage losses of deepwater rig workers will cover only a few weeks of lost wages for those workers - and these funds will do nothing to offset the hundreds of millions in wage losses for workers in support industries that count on deepwater drilling activity for their livelihood.
For the sake of our people, our communities, our jobs, and our way of life, please do all that you can to speed up your process. Please do all in your power to complete your work as quickly as possible, recognizing that every month, every week, will make a big difference to many thousands of people in Louisiana and other Gulf states.
cc: Barack Obama, President of the United States