The Obama administration has lifted a temporary ban on deepwater drilling, stating that new safety measures will prevent such a disaster in the future. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar stated “There will always be risks associated with deepwater drilling, but we have now reached the point where we have, in my view, reduced those risks.” Marketwatch.com carried the quote in their story.
USA Today expounds further that new safety standards will make drillers adhere to stricter rules when they apply for permits to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The moratorium was supposed to last until November but was lifted early when new regulations were put in place.
Many aspects of life in the United States were affected by the Gulf oil spill in April through August of 2010. Now that deepwater drilling will continue, the economy of that region looks to rebound. There are many ways the money and oil flowing are connected to each other in the region.
Effects on the Economy
A lawsuit was filed against the original moratorium in June to halt the Obama administration from using the moratorium as a way to look at safety practices. What was at stake, according to the Los Angeles Times, was the economic welfare of thousands of workers who depend upon the oil industry to make a living. As many as 12,000 drilling employees temporarily lost their jobs due to the moratorium.
Now that deepwater drilling is allegedly safer, companies can begin drilling for oil again at depths not previously thought possible. Drilling could resume within weeks and workers can begin to earn money. While this is good news to oil drillers who have been out of work for months now, the overall economic situation of the Gulf region may still be tarnished.
Fishermen may not be able to sell their catches if there is still a perception that oil may be coating the food. Bloomberg Business Week reports yesterday that a study will be conducted on Atlantic bluefin tuna to see if their population is decreasing. The National Marine Fisheries Service will file the report in May of 2011 as to the health of the species, which was placed on the protected list in September pending the final results of the study.
If such a large fish as the tuna is affected, surely the smaller ones that are caught for food may also have long-term consequences for fishermen and consumers trying to eat fish. A lot of scientists concur that many more studies will need to be done to assess the long-term effects of the oil spill.
Tourists might still stay away from Gulf beaches during high-traffic times such as spring break. Naples News out of Florida reports that BP will begin cleaning up Alabama’s beaches next week. Area mayors want the beaches cleaned in time for Jan. 1, 2011.
The regional economy of the Gulf is much like the United States economy. It took months for the region to be in dire financial straits, and it will take months before it fully recovers. Clean up efforts will employ some workers, and deepwater drilling will provide jobs for thousands of others. Hopefully, as the Gulf economy heals, so will the rest of the United States.
Goldstein, Steve, “Salazar says deepwater drilling moratorium lifted”, Marketwatch.com.
Jackson, David, “Obama team lifts Gulf Coast oil drilling moratorium”, USAToday.com.
Fausset, Richard and Molly Hennessey-Fiske, “Judge to rule on deepwater drilling moratorium”, Los Angeles Times.
McConnaughey, Janet, “Feds to study whether oil endangered bluefin tuna”, Business Week.
Staff Writers, “BP’s cleanup of Alabama beaches to begin”, Naples News.