End the moratorium now

In fact, Louisiana State University economist Joseph Mason told the Corpus Christi Caller Times, “the moratorium could be more costly than the oil spill itself.”

Is it any wonder the American people have lost confidence in this administration? The only way out of this recession is through job creation but at each step, the administration seems recklessly determined to institute policies that do just the opposite.

Eighty percent of the oil we’re discovering, we’re discovering in the deep Gulf. When you put a six-month moratorium in place that could last indefinitely, you’re not exploring for the very resources we need in America. Each day of the moratorium also means harm to our energy security. It will cause 80,000 to 297,000 barrels a day of lost production in 2011- production that will have to come from somewhere like Venezuela or the Middle East.

Tourism, fishing and energy development are vital to the Gulf Coast where they employ hundreds of thousands of people. The tourism industry by itself generates more than $30 billion a year. The Gulf states' economy is also tied to earth and ocean resources. The industries along the Gulf are so intertwined that the losses in any one sector ripple through the entire regional economy.

Enforcing a blanket pause in energy exploration is not unlike sending a new oil spill or a big storm to further threaten the jobs of the Gulf Coast. This shouldn’t be a time for panic, which seems to be this administration’s first response but instead a moment for more careful, thoughtful consideration. I hope the administration will remember the fishermen, shrimpers or rig workers who share the same uncertainty as those who work on the beaches, in the hotels and along the retail establishments and main streets of the Gulf Coast. End the moratorium and start putting people back to work.

Rep. Barton is Ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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