Study: Obama adminstration underestimated moratorium job loss

Paul Conner Executive Editor
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An interagency report released last week by the Obama administration underestimated the number of jobs lost because of the deepwater drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico by about half, according to a study released Tuesday by the American Energy Alliance.

The study, conducted by Dr. Joseph Mason, endowed chair of banking at Louisiana State University, found that the moratorium has cost the Gulf region 19,536 jobs, not the 8,000 to 12,000 jobs estimated by the Department of Commerce report.

“I find it shocking that an economic analysis was not taken prior to the moratorium being put into effect,” Mason said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “There’s been a growing influence in the Environmental Protection Agency over roughly the last decade to undertake environmental policy with absolutely no economic consideration whatsoever.”

Officials at the Commerce Department could not be reached for comment by deadline.

Five out of the 46 rigs located in the Gulf before the Deepwater Horizon drilling explosion have left the region, according to the interagency report. The moratorium has caused a decrease in direct spending by the $1.9 billion, reducing employment in industries that supply the drilling industry and related businesses.

Mason, who retraced the steps used to come up with the original figure, criticized the administration’s results, saying they were the product of “no established methodological reason.”

The moratorium was implemented by President Obama in May after the Macondo well began leaking millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The ban was first struck down in court and later reinstated by the Deptartment of the Interior and is scheduled to be lifted in November.