In January the Energy Information Administration predicted that offshore oil production would decrease 13 percent this year, owing directly to the moratorium and related policies. In the Gulf, offshore drilling supports approximately 400,000 jobs, meaning we can expect the 9.5 percent unemployment rate in the Gulf Coast region to hold steady or even increase. We should also expect tourism, manufacturing and other industries in the area continue to struggle. To compound the impact of the EIA’s forecast for reduced production, consider that the United States has already imported 2.7 billion barrels of oil in 2011 at a cost of over $285 billion (www.moreenergynow.org). Increasing our reliance on imported oil by reducing domestic production will place our energy security at an even bigger risk and drive up gasoline and diesel prices even higher.
If the Administration is serious about putting Americans back to work, it should make moves now that will create job growth opportunities and reduce prices at the pump. Removing the impediments currently in place to a thriving domestic energy industry would be a great place to start.