Alaska Sues Obama Administration Over Improper Off Shore Drilling Moratorium

U.S. President Barack Obama discusses the oil spill response after meeting with members of his Cabinet and other administration officials in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on May 14, 2010. At left are Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg Photo via Newscom

In the wake of the BP oil spill in the gulf, the Obama administration immediately issued a ban on deep water drilling. They’ve also been pushing for a shallow-water drilling moratorium, but their attempt to pull that off has been struck down twice by federal courts.

But that hasn’t stopped Obama from instituting a de facto ban by simply not issuing new permits for shallow water drilling. And now the State of Alaska isn’t going to take it any more.

U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar was sued by the state of Alaska over claims he improperly banned drilling off the state’s coast after BP Plc’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The U.S. hasn’t issued drilling permits in the Arctic since the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf in April and Salazar announced at a press conference this month that he wouldn’t allow exploration plans to resume this year, according to the complaint filed yesterday by Alaska and its Republican governor, Sean Parnell.

The U.S. in May imposed a moratorium on deep-water drilling in the wake of the Gulf spill. Regulators including Salazar have improperly stopped drilling as well in the shallower waters off Alaska’s coast without issuing a formal ban, the state said.

“Defendants have not issued a final, appealable decision on a moratorium for the Alaska region,” the state said in the complaint filed in federal court in Anchorage. “Nor have defendants issued any findings, analysis, or explanation to support such a moratorium.”

The lawsuit claims that Salazar and the Interior Department didn’t consult the state or give it a chance to participate in the moratorium decision, as legally required. The state asked the fcourt to order the U.S. to end any moratorium on drilling in the Alaska region.

The notion that bans on off-shore drilling, be it deep water or shallow water, are necessary seems a bit ridiculous to me. While the gulf oil spill has certainly been a disaster, the truth is that off-shore oil drilling as an industry has an exemplary safety record. Punishing that entire industry, and its thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of employees, for a single incident involving a single well owned by a single company is ludicrous.

The very definition of government overreach.

But we all know that Obama and the left hate fossil fuels. That they want to do everything in their power to hamstring fossil fuels so that the ridiculously expensive and largely unworkable “green” alternatives they favor are more competitive in the markets.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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