A Threat to Jobs in the Gulf: The Drilling Moratorium

Even though the BP well is planned to be fully plugged sometime on Sunday, disputes over employment loss are just heating up.


Beyond the debate amongst major companies like BP and Transocean over who caused the worst oil spill in history, disputes are brewing over employment lost due to the Moratorium put on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico by the Obama Administration.

A report released Thursday by the Obama Administration states that, although predictions showed between 8,000 and 12,000 jobs lost due to the moratorium, the current evidence shows little, if any, job loss in the region. The prediction from the Interior Department landed at 23,000 jobs lost, but the evidence just isn’t there.

Lawmakers and representatives from Louisiana disagree that the moratorium has and will not affect employment in the region.

According to the Huffington Post, the lack of job loss is due to the major cleanup projects and recovery by BP, who is employing many of the workers who would otherwise be at their usual jobs involving the oil and gas industries. It feels very similar to the boost in employment the US felt when the Census came around. Where will those people go when there is no more work to be done? Hopefully, in the case of the oil industry, cleanup workers will have the ability to continue their work once cleanup projects are complete.

Aside from individual job loss, this moratorium will seriously hinder thousands of small businesses that rely on the oil industry to survive, considering it is planned to last through November.

The people in the Gulf region want to know why the Obama Administration went ahead with the Drilling Moratorium without producing a full economic analysis of the possible impact it would have. Instead of considering the people it would disastrously affect, the Obama Administration only thought of the public reaction to environmental harm.

Many agree the decision was a good one. By forcing oil and gas companies to hold off until better regulatory measures are put into place, the public can feel comfortable that another major disaster is less likely.

This dispute arose around the same time the Obama Administration demanded that 3,500 abandoned wells in the Gulf be plugged, even though their leases might say they don’t have to yet. Approximately 27,000 abandoned wells exist in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Associated Press.

Currently, oil companies have a year to plug a well once they have stopped exploration. However, this move by Obama forces oil companies to close off any wells that are no longer exposed for exploration, whether their lease is up or not.

Do you agree with the Deep-water Drilling Moratorium?


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