Filed under: Politics | Tags: BP, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement, Deepwater Horizon, Drilling, Gulf of Mexico, Oil, Petroleum industry, Politics, Presidency of Barack Obama, Washington
The recent Deepwater Horizon spill was a horrible mess. Oil gushed out of a broken pipe deep in the Gulf of Mexico while BP and the US government struggled to stop the flow and clean up the spill.
The chaos that the spill caused in Washington led to very abrupt halting of deep water drilling in the gulf. The regulators, however, let their caution spill over into other areas as well. According to the Associated Press, “the pace at which regulators grant drilling permits in water less than 500 feet deep has slowed sharply this summer … just four out of 10 shallow-water drilling applications have been approved from June through August; 15 applications were sought and approved in the same period last year.”
According to Reuters, the Obama administration is most likely going to let the drilling ban expire. “Michael Bromwich, head of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said he has been impressed with strides the oil and gas industry has made on spill response and containment since the drilling ban was imposed,” Reuters reported today.
After years of loose regulation, do they really think they can fix all the problems and safety hazards in five months? After such a strict summer why, suddenly, are they seeming to trust the oil industry again? It seems that regulators want to have their cake and eat it too. You must accept some risk if you want the private sector to succeed. An over-regulated or over-taxed private sector simply kills jobs and the economy. But, when you let corporations have a little room to move, you may have an explosion, or a faulty part, or some other issue.
Which is worse, Washington, a failing economy and a high unemployment rate or a free market where there is inherent risk? I think the American people will answer that question in November.
The Obama administration needs to find a balance of regulation and taxation. Enough so that they protect our wellbeing and our environment, but not so much so that they hinder our freedom, economic growth, and prosperity.
- UPDATE 1-US drilling ban “unlikely” to be extended-official (reuters.com)
- New US safety rules delay shallow water drilling (reuters.com)
- New rules slow Gulf drilling pace in shallow water (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Regulator Defends Shallow-Water Policies (online.wsj.com)