White House: Gulf drilling jobs will return

Dan Berman

The White House is fighting back against claims its offshore drilling moratorium will cause dramatic job losses along the Gulf Coast with a new report that says most jobs aren’t gone forever.

Only 8,000 to 12,000 jobs will be lost along the Gulf Coast, and most will return once deep-water drilling resumes, says the report, to be presented to a Senate panel Thursday.

Congressional Republicans and Gulf state lawmakers have blasted the moratorium, saying it will compound the economic damage of the BP spill that dumped 4.9 million barrels of oil into the sea. At one point, the Interior Department estimated that 23,000 jobs would be lost.

But the new estimate says job losses will be lessened because “many drilling operators and contractors have retained most of their employees. Earlier studies assumed that all employees would be let go.”

Administration officials have repeatedly defended the ban, saying it’s necessary to give regulators time to develop and install rules for safety. The report also says the moratorium will have no effect on oil prices.

Report is here.

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