'American Morning' Asks Expert 'What's Wrong' With Shutting Down Oil Drilling for 'Four More Months'

U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman struck down the Obama administration’s order of a six-month drilling moratorium on June 24. Despite Louisianians’ “unified” opposition to a drilling ban, Obama has “vowed to appeal,” according to MarketWatch.

Locals in the state know that oil, even in the wake of the BP spill, is the lifeblood of their economy. If a moratorium were imposed, “the economy will get even worse,” Perry Clement, a fishing boat deck hand, told MarketWatch.

But CNN’s “American Morning” had difficulty accepting that the economic costs were a reason not to enforce a moratorium.

Fill-in anchors Jim Acosta and Carol Costello grilled Tom Bower, the author of “Oil: Money, Politics and Power” on June 25.

Costello claimed she was playing “devil’s advocate” as she asked, “What’s wrong with these oil companies … to stop drilling in the deepwater – these 33 wells – for four more months? Because that’s all we’re talking about when you take the moratorium in all its entirety.”

Bower replied that the “cost,” was the problem. Each drilling rig costs “at least half a million dollars a day,” according to Bower, and that would cause contractors to move the rigs to other places in the world rather than leaving them idle in the Gulf.

“But isn’t safety more important than money?” Costello interrupted before commenting that oil companies make “massive amounts of money” each day.

Bower argued that “safety is critical,” but that oil companies (on the whole) have been doing a good job of preventing accidents and that the BP spill was an “aberration.” Costello pushed back on that point saying, “it’s just not logical is it, that argument.”

Acosta took a dig at Republican Governor Bobby Jindal when he asked Bower, “is there a little bit of a ‘have your cake and eat it too’ when it comes to some of these Gulf Coast politicians (he had mentioning Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La.,) saying we want the jobs and the protection from any environmental impact at the same time.”

Bower defended his view that the BP spill was unusual, saying “on the whole their (oil companies) record is very good. And America needs the oil, it needs the gas, and the product in the Gulf has been superb and they’re doing a very good job down their on the whole. So just like we don’t stop flying when a plane crashes, you’ve just got to improve the regulations.”

The oil expert also placed some blame on the government, pointing out the failure of regulators. The news media, particularly the broadcast networks, have barely mentioned the failure of regulators at the Minerals Management Service (MMS) and its cozy relationship with oil companies.

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