The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) reacted with optimism to U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman's ruling to remove the Obama Administration's six-month moratorium on offshore drilling.
"Judge Feldman recognized that the potential for the ban to cause significant economic harm to our country and the Gulf Coast, not to mention the damage it would do to America's maritime industry," said OMSA President Ken Wells.
"Our members are not the drilling companies or the oil companies. They are the companies that carry supplies and people to and from the offshore energy projects. Even though they had nothing to do with the BP accident, it was clear that they would bear the brunt of the negative consequences of the ban. While this is clearly not the end of the legal process, it is extremely good news and gives our industry hope that we will survive this government action," Wells said.
According to Wells, "The court order comes as we are starting to get a clearer picture of the impact of the moratorium on our members. In just the last week, OMSA members have reported that more than 40 vessels have lost work because of the deepwater moratorium and the defacto moratorium that was placed on shallow water drilling. Additionally plans to build new vessels in American shipyards have largely been canceled raising the potential for thousands of layoffs in that sector. The impact is spreading nationally as vessel companies cancel millions of dollars of engines, electronics equipment and other capital purchases. A recent survey of OMSA members indicates that they buy equipment and purchase services from vendors in 48 different states, raising the potential for the economic harm from the Administration's moratorium to be felt throughout the country."
"We need to make sure drilling is done safely, but we also need to make sure we don't stop drilling altogether and leave our country at the whim of foreign oil producing countries. This ruling gives us hope that we can go back to work," Wells said.
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