Democrats in Denial On Job-Destroying Policies

March 4, 2011

Jackson, Salazar Oblivious to Impact of Obama’s Energy Overregulation


Testifying Thursday before the House Natural Resources Committee and House Appropriations Subcommittee respectively, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson both dismissed the widespread backlash against their implementation of the Obama regulatory encyclopedia.


Jackson attributed public anger towards her agency to a need to “communicate better,” rather than the egregious overreach of EPA rule-makings and their impact in destroying jobs:


“Jackson said EPA needs to communicate better with farmers so they don’t get false information about pending regulations. Many of the false perceptions about the agency ‘have to do with our ability to communicate what’s really going on inside the walls of the EPA with people who shouldn’t spend a lot of time worrying about that,’ Jackson said.” (Andrew Restuccia, “GOP Hounds EPA Chief on Regulations, Asks Whether Spilled Milk is Next,” The Hill, 3/3/2011)


Likewise, Salazar suggested that the administration had been supportive of the oil and gas industry—which was certainly news to those jobs creators. After lifting a legal moratorium on drilling in October, the administration has replaced it with a “de facto moratorium” by failing to issue new permits with any regularity. Salazar defended the delay, which has led to court challenges:


“Industry executives and many local business officials and politicians have complained that the administration dragged its feet on permits since the ban was lifted in October, resulting in what critics call a ‘de facto moratorium’.”(Carl Hulse, “Obama Signs Two-Week Budget Extension,” The New York Times, 3/2/2011)


The Interior Department says it will explore its options for appealing a federal judge’s decision requiring the department to make decisions on five pending deep-water drilling permits within 30 days.


“Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, addressing the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in a budget hearing today, said he disagrees with the ruling…


“U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman of Louisiana ordered the department on February 17 to make decisions regarding five deep-water drilling permits within a 30-day period.” (Olga Belogolova, “Interior May Appeal Ruling on Drilling Permits,”National Journal, 3/2/2011)


Salazar and Jackson are increasingly lonely as defenders of the Obama regulatory agenda on energy issues. Senate Natural Resources Committee hearings held Wednesday had a former colleague and fellow Democrat, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), grilling Salazar on how Obama regulations have hurt jobs in her state:


“The secretary faced the most scorn from Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who has been a staunch opponent of the Obama administration’s stance on drilling after the BP oil spill last spring…


“Landrieu showed clear frustration with questions like: ‘What are you specifically doing to get these permits increased so people can get back to work?’


“And: ‘Eighteen deep-water permits have been applied for … and you have issued one. And the industry is saying, ‘They’re returning them to us because we are not sure of the requirements they are requesting of us.’ ‘


“ ‘What I [am] hearing from the industry is uncertainty,’ she said. ‘In January 2009 there were 16 permits issued. The next year there were 12 and this January, only two. We’re so far off the historic level. We’ve got to get it back up as quickly as possible.’” (Amanda Carey, “Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu Grills Salazar on Offshore Drilling,” The Daily Caller, 3/2/2011)


Landrieu is not alone in voicing these concerns. Employers large and small have been vocal about the impact of Obama’s “de facto moratorium” in destroying jobs and the economic harm caused by the EPA’s regulatory rampage:


“Industry executives and many local business officials and politicians have complained that the administration dragged its feet on permits since the ban was lifted in October, resulting in what critics call a ‘de facto moratorium.’”(Katherine Schmidt, “Is Drilling Permit First of Many?,” Houma Today, 3/1/2010)


“The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association has warned that many of the affected rigs will seek to drill in other countries, imperiling roughly 800 to 1,400 jobs per rig, including third-party support personnel.


The securities firm Raymond James & Associates predicts that the moratorium could last well into 2011, directly jeopardizing 50,000 jobs and potentially gutting blue-collar communities that rely heavily on the economic activity that comes with deepwater work. “Just as the demise of auto plants and steel mills in the Upper Midwest devastated entire towns, an extended drilling ban could eventually have a similar effect in the Gulf Coast,” the company said in a report Monday.


“Lawrence R. Dickerson, the chief executive of Diamond Offshore Drilling, which owns the Ocean Monarch and five other deepwater rigs in the gulf, was less pessimistic, suggesting that 15,000 to 20,000 rig and associated service jobs were at risk. He predicted that some deepwater rigs would remain in the area awaiting a resumption of drilling, but that all would be forced to cut staff as the moratorium continued.” (Tom Zeller, Jr., “Drill Ban Means Hard Times for Rig Workers,” The New York Times, 6/17/2010)


NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS: “The NAM’s overriding concern with the proposal [for EPA ground-level ozone regulations] is that the high compliance costs associated with the more stringent ozone standard will hinder manufacturers’ ability to add jobs and hurt our global competitiveness. One study estimated 60 ppb would result in the loss of 7.3 million jobs by 2020 and add $1.1 trillion in new regulatory costs per year between 2020 and 2030.” (Jay Timmons, National Association of Manufacturers, Letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, 1/7/2011)


AMERICAN IRON AND STEEL INSTITUTE: There are a number of regulations from both EPA and OSHA, that if not implemented correctly and appropriately,could limit the steel industry’s global competitiveness, investment, and job growth in coming years.” (Thomas J. Gibson, American Iron and Steel Institute, Letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, 1/10/2011)


But after Obama himself used a speech before the Chamber of Commerce last month as an opportunity to lecture jobs creators with a “stout defense of government regulations,” perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that his hand-selected agency heads echo his job-destroying agenda:


“But to a polite, subdued audience he offered a stout defense of government regulations, even as he promised to eliminate those that are too burdensome. He reached back to history, invoking President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s outreach to corporate leaders and evoking the strains of self-sacrifice expressed by President John Kennedy.” (Jim Kuhnhenn, “Obama Says White House, CEOs Must Work Together,” Associated Press, 2/07/2011)