The President’s National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling has called on the Obama Administration to consider lifting the ban on drilling for certain rigs.  It will be interesting to see if the President listens to his own commission.

These concerns were memorialized in a letter from Richard Lazarus, Executive Director of the Commission to Michael Bromwich, Director of OEM at Interior.

Business Week reports:

The presidential commission investigating BP Plc’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill has asked the Obama administration if a temporary ban on deep-water drilling should be lifted for certain rigs.  The commission wrote to Michael Bromwich, director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, on Aug. 6, seeking information on the moratorium, according to a letter released today. President Barack Obama suspended drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet though Nov. 30.

This is a big reversal for the commission.  The President’s commission would like to see the Obama Administration take a hard look at how economically destructive the moratorium is to the Gulf region and provide information to the Commission justifying the moratorium.

The Times-Picayune reports:

The presidential commission, which is chaired by former Florida Gov. and Sen. Bob Graham and former Environmental Protection Agency chief William Reilly, has done a near-180-degree reversal on the moratorium. Prior to the commission’s first hearing in New Orleans last month, the chairmen said it would not be their charge to investigate the rationale, effectiveness or impact of the moratorium.

Clearly these commissioners are concerned about the impact of the moratorium on the people of the Gulf region.  Although the Commissioners initially did not want to deal with the issue of the economic harm wrought by the Obama Administration’s drilling ban, they clearly have been moved by testimony and want answers to specific questions.

Lazarus requested detailed information in the letter about:

  1. “the nature and scope of the Bureau’s efforts to review the adequacy of the safety procedures applicable to, and used on, individual drilling rigs covered by the moratorium;” and,
  2. “the nature of the actions that the Bureau may take as a result of its review.”

Clearly the President’s Commission needs to take a hard look at the moratorium to see if it is doing more harm than good.  With unemployment nationally at 9.5% and the economy of the Gulf region in trouble, this is not the time for heavy handed federal regulations that will further harm the people of the Gulf.  The Commission has given the Obama Administration until August 23rd and it will be interesting to see if the Obama Administration takes the President’s Commission’s requests seriously.