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FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR

Drilling Moratorium Violates Panel’s Recommendation

Peer-review, schmeer-review.

If Obama and Salazar wanted to cripple the domestic oil and gas industry and the very-red Gulf Coast states that depend on offshore drilling, they couldn’t find a better way to do it than to impose a six-month (at least) moratorium on all deepwater drilling, including the unprecedented step of shutting down operations on wells that were already underway.

But they couldn’t just do it. They needed the cover of a “blue-ribbon panel”, a seven-member committee from the National Academy of Engineering. Their report was issued May 27.

Trouble is, the panel reviewed a draft of Salazar’s technical recommendations that said nothing about a six-month moratorium for ongoing drilling operations. The panel recognizes the damage that the moratorium will do, and they are pi**ed off to have been so manipulated.

I tried to tell these guys not to mess with engineers. Not on their home turf.

H/T Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

ADVISERS CITED BY SALAZAR SAY DRILLING BAN IS BAD IDEA

Salazar’s May 27 report to President Barack Obama said a panel of seven experts “peer reviewed” his recommendations, which included a six-month moratorium on all ongoing drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet. That prohibition took effect a few days later, but the angry panel members and some others who contributed to the Salazar report said they had reviewed only an earlier version of the secretary’s report that suggested a six-month moratorium only on new drilling, and then only in waters deeper than 1,000 feet.

“We broadly agree with the detailed recommendations in the report and compliment the Department of Interior for its efforts,” a joint letter from the panelists to various politicians says. “However, we do not agree with the six month blanket moratorium on floating drilling. A moratorium was added after the final review and was never agreed to by the contributors.”…

A blanket moratorium is not the answer. It will not measurably reduce risk further and it will have a lasting impact on the nation’s economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill,” the letter says. “We do not believe punishing the innocent is the right thing to do.”

One of the panelists who signed the letter, University of California at Berkeley engineering professor Bob Bea, said in an e-mail message that a moratorium should be reserved for “unconventional, very hazardous operations” and shouldn’t apply to the “majority of conventional offshore operations, (which) meet fundamental requirements for acceptable risks.” [emphasis added]

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