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Aug 30, 2010 9:51 PM by Alison Haynes

Jindal presses panel on drilling moratorium

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Gov. Bobby Jindal again sought an end to
President Barack Obama's moratorium on deepwater oil drilling as he
met Monday with two members of the president's commission
investigating the BP oil spill: former Florida Sen. Bob Graham and
National Geographic Society executive Terry Garcia.
He got no promises.
Graham said two issues pressed by Jindal, dealing with seafood
and coastal restoration, were part of the commission's mandate.
State officials have been pushing for a rigorous testing
program, funded by BP, that would renew the suppressed demand for
Gulf seafood by building public confidence in its safety. They also
want faster action on programs to restore Louisiana's eroding
coastal wetlands.
"The moratorium is not in our sweet spot of assignment,"
Graham said.
Jindal and coastal officials attending a news conference after
the meeting acknowledged reports that the moratorium has yetthe
cost the thousands of jobs projected by state officials. But that
remains a danger if the moratorium remains in place much longer,
they said, adding that many jobs in businesses serving the industry
have been lost or affected, and some jobs have been moved to other
states or nations.
"We're seeing reassignments. We're seeing transfers. We're
seeing reductions in pay," said Charlotte Randolph, president of
Lafourche Parish.
A report last week by the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy
Center said the drilling ban, scheduled to expire Nov. 30, may no
longer be needed.
The moratorium allowed time for both industry and government to
make offshore drilling safer, the report said. The oil spill
commission had asked the center to look into the wisdom of using a
moratorium to prevent spills in the aftermath of the BP disaster.

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