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Statement from the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition regarding Obama administration job loss estimates related to stalled drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico:

"Recent news reports indicate that prior to imposing the deepwater drilling moratorium, senior Obama Administration officials concluded that the ban would cost at least 23,000 jobs," said Jim Noe, Executive Director of the Coalition and President of Delta Towing, LLC. "Disturbing as that is, the figure does not come close to telling the real story of the economic impact that recent Administration offshore policies have had."

"Over 40,000 workers are directly employed in jobs related to shallow-water drilling, an industry that the Secretary of the Interior has repeatedly acknowledged is less risky than deep water drilling," said Randy Stilley, President and CEO of Seahawk Drilling. "And although Administration officials stand by their claim that there is no official moratorium on shallow water operations, the Interior Department's continuing delay in processing and approving shallow water permits has industry officials, politicians, and academics scratching their heads.

"Only three permits for new wells have been issued in over four months and no new exploration plans have been approved," continued Stilley. "As a result, 14 of the 46 shallow water rigs available for use are now idle waiting on permits to drill new wells. By the end of August, 25 rigs will be taken offline, 32 by the end of September. This will leave over 3,000 workers without a job to do, not even counting the thousands of crewboat workers, caterers, truck drivers, welders, manufacturers and scores of others supporting the industry. Several hundred rig workers have already been laid off."

"We look forward to a report next week from economic experts at the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University," said Noe. "The report will focus on the Department's inaction and the severe impacts that the delays in shallow-water permitting are having not only on the Gulf Coast but on the entire nation."
(Frank Maisano)