Rep. Doc Hastings on Wednesday blamed the slow pace of recovery in the Gulf of Mexico region on the Obama administration’s failure to restore drilling permits to levels that existed before the Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion in April of 2010.
At a hearing held by the House Natural Resources Committee, which the Washington Republican chairs, Hastings said even though the moratorium was lifted a year ago, drilling did not resume in the Gulf until February, meaning businesses and employees were unable to return to work in a timely manner.
As a result — Hastings said at the hearing examining the impact of the Horizon disaster on the economy — the region is still experiencing “lost jobs and significant economic pain” tied to lost oil production.
“While I recognize that some permits indeed are being issued, there are facts and data that demonstrate recovery is moving at a pace that continues to hamper job creation and the economy,” he said.
Citing government reports, Hastings said “permitting activity in the Gulf” now equals what he described as “hurricane-induced” slowdown levels. Hasting noted that only 52 permits are being issued each month now compared to 71 before the well explosion.
“That’s a 27 [percent] decrease, which directly affects jobs and the local economy,” he added.
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