Politics

Activists, Lawmakers Push to end Drilling Moratorium

The Obama Administration is tinkering with pulling the plug on its temporarily moratorium on deepwater drilling in light of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

But for some in Congress and energy advocacy groups, that might not be soon enough.

"I believe the Obama Administration is choking the American economy," said former-Rep. John Peterson (R-PA), who used to represent one of the richest oil patches in the Keystone State. "If we don't produce (oil), OPEC will."

Peterson joined Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) at a Capitol Hill rally held by the American Energy Alliance (AEA). AEA argues that the six-month moratorium could cost the country $2.7 billion in lost commerce and puts thousands of jobs at risk.

"If that oil exploration does not occur in the Gulf of Mexico, those companies will move to other parts of the world that are far-less rigorous (when it comes to environmental protection)," Cornyn said.

The government moratorium idled 33 deepwater wells. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is scheduled to lift the moratorium at the end of November. But the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) is exploring whether there's a way to lit the ban early. Salazar imposed the moratorium so investigators can determine what triggered the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon spill in April.

"That's the equivalent of saying after a plane crash that there will never be an airline allowed to fly ever again," said Cornyn.