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Obama's off-again, on-again, off-again oil drilling moratorium is back on -- again

December 1, 2010 |  3:24 pm

Democrat president Barack Obama crouches on the beach looking for oil

Good thing drilling for oil in deep ocean waters to help achieve national energy independence is such an easy thing to do -- finding the oil, building the King Kong platforms and maneuvering them into position, drilling a couple of miles down and employing thousands of skilled Americans.

Because otherwise the Obama administration's go-ahead-no-wait-it's-off-no-wait-OK-back-on-but-wait-again-it's-off drilling regulations could cause confusion and economic mayhem in coastal states that just happen to be governed by Republican governors.

Nobody wants the Democratic president to have to have to endure another 67 days of photo ops (see above) and canned briefings about a pesky gulf oil spill a mile underwater.

So the Interior Department under Secretary Ken Salazar, who is not from a coastal state, has on fifth thought withdrawn its permission to explore for oil in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and along the eastern seaboard. Salazar said lessons learned from the BP spill probably require more federal safety and environmental regulations.

And for some reason this will take seven years.

"The politics are clear," notes Jim Mitchell of the Dallas Morning News, "the ban satisfies environmental interests in California and Florida. What isn't clear is the overall energy policy."

In a Forbes story Wednesday titled "In Pointless Flipflop, Obama Re-Bans Oil Drilling Off Florida," Chris Helman notes there have been 58,375 gulf wells drilled, including 3,191 in deep water. He quotes T. Paul Bulmahn, an independent oil and gas operator: "What's being done now under the guise of an emergency which has already passed is not fair."

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press