Congressman Bill Cassidy, M.D., along with U.S. Senators Landrieu and Vitter and Congressmen Alexander, Boustany, Scalise, Fleming and Landry sent a letter to President Barack Obama reiterating their request for a meeting with Chief of Staff William Daley to discuss the unfair permitting process for offshore Gulf drilling. This is the second request the Louisiana delegation has made to the administration. The current permitting process to drill in the Gulf is damaging the economic health of Louisiana and other Gulf states. The letter is attached.
"The Louisiana delegation does not believe the president is fully aware of the damage the administration's permititorium has done. Jobs are lost, gas prices are soaring, small business are disproportionally affected and large companies are moving assets and jobs overseas," said Rep. Bill Cassidy. "It is said that Mr. Daley, the President's Chief of Staff, was brought on board because he understands how government can help or hurt the private sector. Louisiana's private sector needs relief from the government. We hope he can help."
"Anyone who has watched the permitting process closely knows that we are not back at historic levels," Sen. Landrieu said. "Only 53 shallow water permits have been issued since June 8, 2010 --and this is for an industry not put under the moratorium. In 2010, from January to April, 42 shallow water permits were issued. In 2009, 48 shallow water permits were issued during the same time frame. In 2011, BOEM has only issued 25 shallow water permits during the January --April period. This is almost a 50 percent reduction from 2009 levels. Clearly, something is askew at the agency and we must find a way to get back to historic numbers."
"Until the Obama administration resumes issuing permits at a normal rate, I'm afraid prices at the pump will continue to rise and the thousands of Louisianians who depend on our energy industry for a paycheck will continue to suffer. I hope the president will agree to our reasonable request for this meeting aimed at moving the process forward," said U.S. Sen. David Vitter.
"Even more damaging to Louisiana's vitality than the oil spill itself is the ongoing de facto moratorium on deepwater drilling. As our economy still suffers from anemic growth and countless individuals remain unemployed, this ban prohibits critical opportunities for those who depend on the energy sector to survive. The administration's current permitting process is hampering much-needed job creation and revenue production at home, while increasing our dependence on foreign oil. We can strengthen America's energy security and put our people back to work by tapping domestic energy sources that are readily available in the Gulf Coast," said Rep. Rodney Alexander.
"I will continue to press the Obama Administration to end the de facto moratorium. The needless delays and bureaucracy do nothing to create jobs or provide energy and economic security," said Rep. Charles Boustany.
"If the president is going to continue implementing policies that are directly responsible for ending thousands of jobs, he ought to at least meet with those of us representing the region so he can hear and understand the devastating consequences his policies are having on families and small businesses throughout Southeast Louisiana," said Rep. Steve Scalise.
"With gas prices hovering at $4 per gallon and unemployment at 9%, Americans can no longer afford the Obama administration's destructive energy policy. I hope we can have this opportunity to put in place real energy solutions driven by facts rather than ideology. Once that happens, we will be able to get Louisianans back to work and lower energy prices," said Rep. John Fleming.