Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu decried the economic devastation Salazar is overseeing: "Even the revised moratorium will force thousands of hardworking Louisianians and others along the Gulf Coast into the unemployment lines."
Lafourche Parish (La.) President Charlotte Randolph blasted the zero-risk tolerance mentality of Salazar and Beinecke, illustrating the folly behind the offshore drilling moratorium: If "safety" demands a blanket halt to deepwater drilling, she said, then all oil tanker traffic in the Gulf of Mexico should be halted, too. "An oil tanker is a four times greater risk of spilling its cargo than an oil well blowing out," Randolph pointed out. "Tankers carrying 3 million barrels of oil traverse the Gulf daily en route to Houston." That's roughly the amount of oil BP spilled over the past three months.
After the first hearing this week, Reilly openly challenged the White House foot-dragging on 33 oil rig safety assessments, wondering "why it's going to take so long to convince people the existing rigs are safe." For his part, Graham blasted the "disconnect between Washington and the Gulf region about the sense of urgency needed."
In Washington, at least one watchdog has pegged Salazar as a crooked shooter. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa exposed the Interior Secretary's serial obstructionism in a letter released Thursday about Salazar's failure to comply with 45 document requests related to the feds' post-spill response. "The lack of cooperation is appalling for an Administration that prides itself on transparency and openness with the American people," Issa noted. "Indeed, it appears that the Administration is more concerned with hiding from the tough questions than answering them."
While Salazar ducks and dithers, deepwater oil drillers are canceling contracts or moving their rigs overseas -- and American jobs along with them. Diamond Offshore moved one of its rigs to Egypt. Murphy Oil Company is also moving operations to the Congo. And Bloomberg News reported that "the number of offshore rigs operating in U.S. waters has plunged 71 percent to 16 from 56 before the blowout, according to surveys by Baker Hughes Inc."
The new sheriff's in town, all right -- and he's shooting the Gulf Coast economy in the foot, head and heart. Heckuva job, Kenny.