The moratorium against drilling in the Gulf of Mexico may be over but you'd never know it in Cameron Parish. Cameron officials say there's still so much uncertainty dealing with regulations and permits that it's having a chilling effect on industry there. And they say their economy is suffering.
The drilling moratorium in place after the BPoil spill. And while it's been lifted on paper--people in Cameron parish say industry is still stifled. Cameron Parish Administrator Tina Horn says they've seen layoffs and business closures."Air log helicopter's place on the front ridge in Cameron, that is shutting down and it's all a result of the moratorium."
Horn asked Congressman Charles Boustany what can be done as she and police jurors gathered in Creole to discuss various issues. Boustany blames the Obama administration.
"We're still not back. They're still dragging their feet on issuing permits and they're putting up all kinds of barriers and really not working with our companies to get to get folks back to work in the Gulf of Mexico. Often times, they're blocking companies before they can even get to the request for a permit. What they're doing is saying, 'Your environmental assessment plan's no good or they're just finding all sorts of things they can throw up in front of these companies to keep them from moving through the process."
Boustany says, with the price of oil where it is, the country should be seeing an increase in oil production in the Gulf but he says energy production in the Gulf is down by a quarter million barrels a day for 2011. "You cannot punish your current American energy production. We cannot make this country energy sufficient just on solar and wind. We need oil and gas."
Horn expects a long road ahead. "And the worst part about it there's no light at the end of the tunnel. We don't know when we're going to get any kind of relief."
Boustany also talked about his dredging bill aimed at improving the local economy by assuring that money already intended for dredging the Calcasieu Ship Channel is available each year without a fight. And he says it would in no way add to the deficit.