NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Gulf Deep Water Drilling Ban's Hidden Victims

February 3, 2012

A study released by economic development agency Greater New Orleans Inc., or GNO, details the dire results to the federal deep water drilling moratorium and its regulatory aftermath, says Investor's Business Daily.

  • The study says that despite the relatively limited employment losses reflected in public employment data, businesses are indeed laying off workers, reducing hours and salaries and limiting new hires as a result of the permit slowdown and insecurity about the future of the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Forty-nine companies in the survey have laid off employees as a result of the moratoria.
  • Fifty-two businesses (52.5 percent) surveyed have not hired new employees since the moratoria.
  • Of the 47 companies that have hired, the majority have done so in small numbers and often just to replace departing staff.
  • The 39 percent that have retained workers have reduced salaries and/or hours.

In addition:

  • Some 41 percent of the companies surveyed are not making a profit, a statistic that does not bode well.
  • About 76 percent of the businesses have lost cash reserves with 27 percent losing more than half.
  • Eighty-two percent of business owners reported losing personal savings as a result of the permit slowdown with 13 percent exhausting them entirely.

Although the moratorium has been lifted, permit issuance has been slower than in the years before the spill.  In the past three months, two deep water permits were issued per month on average, according to the Gulf Permit Index, released each month by GNO Inc.  That is a 66 percent decrease from the monthly average in the year before the spill, and a 71 percent drop from the historical monthly average of seven new permits per month, according to GNO Inc. data.

Shallow water permits are similarly restricted.  Over the past three months, an average of 2.3 permits have been issued representing a 68 percent decrease in the monthly average in the year prior to the oil spill and an 84 percent drop from the historical average.

Source: "Gulf Deepwater Drilling Ban's Hidden Victims," Investor's Business Daily, January 31, 2012. "The Impact of Decreased and Delayed Drilling Permit Approvals on Gulf of Mexico Business," Greater New Orleans Inc., January 30, 2012.

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