OMSA: Salazar Is Not Issuing New Deepwater Permits

Jim Adams, president and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), said that BOEMER's late-Friday announcement that it has issued an additional permit for deepwater drilling is misleading.

"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," said Adams. "This administration has yet to approve and permit a new deepwater exploration proposal submitted in the last 11 months."

Adams continued, "Secretary 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."

Adams noted that Secretary Salazar's latest announcement follows on the heels of another round of Congressional hearings this week on the Obama administration's de facto moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf.

"It still takes Congressional intervention or court orders to compel the Interior Department to issue a scant number of 'permits'," Adams said. "And still, energy producers don't have a clear picture of what it takes—or how long it takes—to satisfy Secretary Salazar."

"No one is sure what Secretary Salazar really wants," Adams added. "All we want is to get back to work."

OMSA represents the owners and operators of U.S. flag offshore service vessels and the shipyards and other businesses that support that industry.

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