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Sep 13, 2010 7:16 PM by Melissa Hawkes

Lieutenant Governor Testifies at Forum on Offshore Drilling

The Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, Micheal Bromwich, spent the day talking to oil spill experts in Lafayette.

The forum was one of eight held in cities throughout the Gulf Coast to evaluate the current state of offshore drilling and to come up with a plan of where it's headed.

Bromwich heard from a number of speakers concerned about the future of the oil and gas industry

U.S. Congressmen, Charles Boustany, said "lets not penalize, not punish your current industry production.

Lieutenant Governor, Scott Angelle, added "we can't help but believe that our repeated suggestions and other experts suggestions continue to be ignored about lifting this moratorium."

Angelle says even in shallow water, where there is no ban on drilling, permits aren't being approved.

He said, "the confusion of what's required is crippling activity."

Bromwich said, "new regulatory requirements have been imposed in the past three months and so its been an adjustment both for industry and frankly for our own people."

Bomwich explained inspectors are working as quickly as they can, but corners won't be cut just to speed up the process.

Angelle said, "Unless immediate action is taken to increase personnel who grant permits, American jobs will hang in balance and the oil and gas production will decrease."

Bromwich said, "we hope to get a large number of additional personal, not just people to review approving applications, but in some ways , as importantly to get additional inspectors, to go out and inspect rigs."

Bromwich is compiling a report from all eight forums to turn into Secretary Salazar by October 31st but he's hoping to have it completed by the end of
September.

At that point, the question of whether or not the deep water drilling ban will be prolonged past November 30th should be answered.

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