Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu
Drilling Session Disappoints Landrieu
A meeting between Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and offshore drilling executives on the Gulf Coast orchestrated by Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, failed to yield much progress on streamlining the permitting process for new wells in the aftermath of the BP oil spill, Ms. Landrieu said this week.
“I am extremely disappointed that Secretary Salazar’s presentation today failed to provide regulatory certainty and a clear path for speeding up the process of issuing drilling permits,” she said in a statement.
“Our industry leaders are skeptical and have every right to be,” she said.
Last week Ms. Landrieu lifted her hold on Jack Lew, President Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget, after Mr. Salazar agreed to the meeting and pledged to streamline the permitting process for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
“In the last two weeks there have been six permits issued,” Ms. Landrieu said in comments before the Senate after Mr. Lew was confirmed by a voice vote. “I’m told that there will be additional permits issued in the coming week.”
The meeting between Mr. Salazar and the drilling executives took place on Monday, but did not yield the results that Ms. Landrieu sought. The executives received a pledge that permits for shallow wells would be considered separately from those for deepwater wells, but little more, the senator said.
“The Gulf Coast needs much more clarity and specificity to move forward,” she said.
A representative for the shallow water drilling industry said that Mr. Salazar had pledged to meet again with industry executives in December, according to a report by The Hill.
Ms. Landrieu vowed to put up additional procedural hurdles and create other complications for the Obama administration if the permitting process for drilling did not accelerate.
“I was assured a clear path forward was imminent, and I hope it still is,” she said. “However, there are many other tools at our disposal, and our delegation will use every one to send the message that it is harmful to our economy and our national security to keep this industry in the dark and on the sidelines.”