News Story

Analysis: Gulf Moratorium Similar to Directional Drilling Ban

The Obama administration has issued another moratorium on deepwater drilling for oil in the Gulf. The administration's initial temporary ban was struck down previously by federal courts. The ban on drilling in the Gulf has much in common with the ban on directional drilling for oil and gas under the Great Lakes imposed by the Michigan Legislature - both are knee-jerk reactions that are short on science and technical merit and long on political posturing. There have been thousands of wells drilled safely in the Gulf and eight wells directionally drilled under the Great Lakes without incident.

Many politicians have apparently made the political calculation that almost any restriction on the use of natural resources, whether technically justified or not, will sell well with voters. A blatant example of riding this "green wave" is the proposal by Michigan legislators to place on the ballot a constitutional ban on Great Lakes directional drilling even though the process is currently banned under both state and federal law.

Many Gulf Coast residents already impacted by the damaging effects of the oil spill can now add to their list of worries whether or not they will have a job. Many oil rigs are already leaving the Gulf due to the moratorium. Although it is on a much smaller scale, Michigan residents could benefit from the jobs and revenue generated by additional oil and gas development in the state.

Any nation that puts the wise use of its natural resources off limits is dooming itself to a future of sending more jobs and money overseas - often times to hostile nations. We should expect better from our leaders.


Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.