19,000 Jobs Worth $1.1 Billion in Wages Lost Nationally Since Offshore Drilling Moratorium Imposed

By Christopher Goins | March 21, 2011 | 7:17pm EDT

A natural gas platform off the coast of Fort Morgan, Ala. America's ban on offshore drilling was meant only for the deep water, yet rules created in the wake of the BP disaster appear to have halted numerous projects at safer depths where most of the industry works. (AP File Photo/Rob Carr)

(CNSNews.com)(EDITOR'S NOTE -- due to a typographical error, a previous version of this story contained an incorrect number for the Obama administration's estimate on job loss. The correct number is 12,000. We regret the error.) 

At least 13,000 jobs have been lost since last summer’s moratorium on offshore oil production, surpassing projected job losses in a 2010 study by thousands, according to the Louisiana State University professor who authored the study.

Joseph Mason, author of  “The Economic Cost of a Moratorium on Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration to the Gulf Region,” estimated that the new regional job losses due to the moratorium on offshore oil production in the Gulf region is now 13,000 –  up from his original estimate of 8,000.

Mason also estimated the national job losses to have increased from 12,000 to 19,000; regional wage losses to be $800 million, up from $500 million; national wage losses to be $1.1 billion, up from $700 million; lost tax revenues on the state and local level to be $155 million, up from $100 million; and lost tax revenues on the national level to be $350 million, up from $200 million.

Mason testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy and Power last Thursday.

In his written statement at the House hearing, he wrote: “Each day, more exploration and development activity in the Gulf is lost. The lost output will not be regained and the lost wages cannot be spent.”

He continued: “We knew all along that even the most honorable businessmen could not support their workers without revenue income in the long term. We are now progressing into that long term. As rig workers and other employees directly related to oil and gas development tighten their belts or leave the region, the rest of the region suffers.”

A recent Gallup poll shows that six in 10 Americans favor increasing offshore drilling for oil and gas in U.S. Coastal areas, which is up 50 percent from May 2010. The same poll says 49 percent of Americans are now in favor of opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for Oil exploration, up from 43 percent in 2008.

Last December, the consulting firm Wood Mackenzie conducted a study that projects that by 2015 associated job losses could reach 125,000 per year. According to the Obama administration statistics, 12,000 jobs have been lost as a result of the moratorium.

The statistics come at a time when Democrats are criticizing Republicans for not creating jobs.

At a press conference Wednesday criticizing Republicans for not bringing forth a jobs plan, Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) said they would not push the Obama administration to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling.

When CNSNews.com asked Andrews if he would call on the Obama administration to lift the moratorium on offshore production, the congressman said he would not.

“I would not. I would call upon the administration to do what it is doing right now, which is a careful review of the safety and appropriateness of permits that are out there, permitting the ones that are safe to go forward and reviewing the ones that are not fixing.”

He added: “I wonder how many jobs were lost in the tourism industry and in many other industries in the Gulf Coast because of the catastrophic oil spill that took place just a while back. And I think the administration is exactly on the right track to make sure we avoid such a catastrophe in the future. That people drill when it is safe and when it’s legally required and we should not rush to speed that up.” 

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