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Oct 19, 2010 6:19 PM by Shawn Kline

Former Presidential Candidate talks Moratorium, jobs

The aftermath of an offshore drilling moratorium is a growing concern in southern Louisiana.
Many are asking what rules and regulations we're going to be left with. According to some oil and gas advocates, those haven't been set in stone yet.
Former GOP Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee spoke to some of the area's leading oil and gas companies, extending a plea to keep drilling along our coastlines.
"There has been permanent economic damage because of the spill." Huckabee says, "then long-term economic damage due to the government's reaction to it."
Here's a recap of this year's events leading up to the current status of the oil and gas industry:
The oil spill essentially shut down the Gulf of Mexico on April 20th.
Then, just a little more than a month later, the federal government issues an offshore drilling moratorium- leaving nearly 12,000 workers at home on May 30th.
Almost five months later, the moratorium is lifted on October 12th; but workers still aren't back to work.
"They didn't lose their jobs because of a market place." Huckabee says, "they lost their jobs because the government shut them down."
"It could be months before these companies get any new permits and these rigs go back to work." Don Briggs of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association says, "even in the shallow water, it could be a while."
So, why months? Briggs says the regulators don't even know what they're regulating.
"The bottom line is that the (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) officials are still sorting through their rules and regs," Briggs said.
Rules and regs Mike Huckabee says will keep the rigs out of commission.
"There, in essence, is a defacto moratorium," Huckabee said.
In the wake of the gulf spill, the federal government created the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to regulate the offshore oil industry.
The bureau, just months into its establishment, is already asking congress for $100-million for expansion.
Right now, the bureau has about 60 inspectors looking over thousands of rigs along the US coastline but they say they need nearly 200 inspectors.
The bureau has already received $25-million dollars for this expansion.
Bureau representatives say there are rules and regulations in place and permits are ready- but local oil experts say there's a lot of red-tape to be cut.

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