The Obama administration reversed course Wednesday and said it wouldn't allow drilling off the Atlantic coast and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico near Florida, citing safety concerns after the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
The decision was a fresh setback for the oil industry following the BP PLC spill, and subsequent revelations about events leading up to the April 20 explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and killed 11 people. The industry already faces a virtual freeze on permits to drill new wells on existing leases as regulators weigh tougher safety and environmental requirements.Environmental groups cheered the decision. The oil industry and its supporters denounced it.
Perhaps the Wall Street Journal should update its piece to add another group to the "denouncing" column: The American people. It seems folks aren't especially optimistic about the economic ramifications of Obama's seven-year Atlantic drilling moratorium:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 54% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the new seven-year ban will increase gas prices, while just 11% think it will make gas prices go down. Twenty-five percent (25%) expect the ban to have no impact on prices at the pump. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Similarly, only 15% of voters feel the ban is good for the economy. Fifty-four percent (54%) predict that it will be bad for the economy, but 20% say it will have no impact.