The Interior Department's new moratorium on deepwater drilling is not necessary for safety and will cost jobs, harm the Gulf region and weaken our nation's energy security. AP's President and CEO Jack Gerard offered this reaction to the new policy:
"It is unnecessary and shortsighted to shut down a major part of the nation's energy lifeline while working to enhance offshore safety. The new moratorium threatens enormous harm to the nation and to the Gulf region. It places the jobs of tens of thousands of workers in serious and immediate jeopardy and promises a substantial reduction in domestic energy production. No certain and expeditious path forward has been established for a resumption of drilling.
"The 33 now idle deepwater drilling rigs in the Gulf have passed thorough government inspections and are ready to be put back to work. The industry has been working extremely hard on all fronts to enhance safety – and will continue to do so. And the government has already imposed significant, additional safety requirements that are supported by the industry. A resumption of drilling would proceed only under the most intense and vigilant oversight.
"Eighty percent of the oil and 45 percent of the natural gas produced in the Gulf come from deepwater areas. The 20 most prolific producing blocks in the Gulf are located in deepwater. Deepwater is indispensable to a strong and secure energy future. The moratorium makes that future uncertain.
"We strongly encourage the department to reconsider its decision and establish a process and time-line for putting our deepwater companies and highly skilled employees in the Gulf region back to work."
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