- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
According to reports from the Associated Press and Reuters News Service, the government is reporting that new regulations will cost the mining and oil industries many jobs.
The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement released a document saying that their proposed rules would cost the coal-mining industry 7,000 to 9,000 of the 80,000 mining jobs. The American Petroleum Institute, an oil industry association, released a statement that the continued blocking of deepwater drilling activities will end up costing 125,000 jobs at a minimum.
While President Obama issued an executive order to review all regulations that are obstructing job growth, he also praised any regulations that were considered to be protective of health and the environment. That would be the rub.
For example, after the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there was a moratorium preventing any drilling in waters greater than 500 feet deep. A judge tossed out the moratorium saying it over reached their authority. Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the Interior, then issued a new ruling saying that potential drillers had to meet the criteria of proving that they could halt any potential leak at the depths they wanted to work in. However, not a single company has been able to meet such a demand to the satisfaction of the department. That just seems rather coincidental to me.
In another coincidence, I noticed a number of reports were released to the news agencies of the damage done by the Gulf spill. At the same time the loss of jobs report went public, other reports were released with headlines such as, Oil Spill Dispersants Don't Disappear, Report: Gulf oil Spill Was Deadly Time for Turtles or Experts Seek Arctic Climate Early Warning System.
Understand that cleaning up our environment and keeping it clean is an important goal that I totally agree should be a top priority. The disasters that happened in the coal mines and at drilling rigs were totally avoidable had the regulators just done their original jobs.
In the case of the coal mines, they found after the fact that the owners of those facilities had a history of poorly maintained equipment. That should not have been allowed to continue. Miners are fearful of complaining because of retaliation. That should also not be the case. Short-sided managers and owners should be removed from the industry and not allowed to return. There should be regular inspections and any time a system is found lacking that could potential cause harm should be red-tagged on the spot.
The oil industry should be held to the same standards. The final report form the President's commission to study the spill event determined that a "culture of complacency" in the government agencies and at the oil companies ultimately led to the problem. That was so obvious from the very beginning but we had to spend perhaps millions of dollars to come to that conclusion. The experts at the EPA should have been involved in reviewing the environmental impact reports. Those documents were such a joke. The oil companies should not have been exempt (they still are) from building Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plans that should also be approved by the EPA and the Coast Guard. Instead of utilizing existing expertise, Salazar recently announce he was forming two brand new agencies to oversee the industry, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
If our government would just use the tools they have and enforce existing regulations, we would be healthier, our air, water and soil would be cleaner, there would be more jobs to meet compliance, and it is quite likely that owners would be making more money. As each new disaster unfolded over the past decade, the resulting investigations showed more than 90 percent of the time that poor management or oversight allowed it to happen. And in nearly every case, we responded by adding more rules and bureaucrats.
Feel free to respond whether you agree or disagree. You don't have to use your real name but I would like to hear (or read) from you.