Immediate Release: Contact: Nicolette Nye
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 (202) 347-6900
NOIA’s Dave Welch Urges End to Moratorium at Rally for Economic Survival
WASHINGTON, DC – The following is a statement from NOIA Board Member Dave Welch, who was among more than 15,000 concerned citizens converging in Lafayette, Louisiana today to participate in The Rally for Economic Survival protesting the federal moratorium on deepwater drilling:
“My message to President Barack Obama is let us work! Rigs are on location and ready, helicopters are ready, boats are ready, suppliers are ready, caterers are ready, steel mills are ready, and our people are ready. Let us help the country, let us keep the price of gasoline from going up to $4 a gallon at the pump, let us help the trade deficit, let us help the economy, let us bridge to the future of renewable energy, and let us feed our families. Let us work. End this moratorium.”
“As a business executive, I feel the anger and frustration in the wake of the Gulf oil spill as keenly as the American public – perhaps even more so -- because I know that, overall, industry has a great safety record, and I know the importance to our Nation of the work we do.
“The loss of life on the Deepwater Horizon, and economic and environmental damage as a result of the accident are tragedies. Now another tragedy has been added to the mix with the new deepwater drilling moratorium that further threatens the economic stability of a region already on its knees.
“Gulf coast residents are already suffering from the devastating impacts of this accident to the tourism and seafood industries. This is not the time to add to their misery through the loss of jobs, energy, and revenue provided by an industry so clearly vital to the Gulf Coast way of life.
“Some workers sidelined by the moratorium have found work in the clean up and response effort, but once the well is killed and these actions begin to wind down, these workers will be looking to return to their former offshore jobs. If the moratorium is still in place and permitting of shallow water wells is still moving at a snail’s pace, the economic wasteland being witnessed in the Gulf will continue.
“There are safety procedures already identified by the Administration and other possibilities to allow the offshore industry to go back to work – safely – without this political moratorium. Third party verification, increased inspections, better communication and well design would all contribute to enhanced safety and allow companies to continue to explore in a cautious timely manner while keeping their workers employed.
“Each deepwater rig employs on average 1,400 direct and indirect jobs. Each rig that moves out of the Gulf and overseas as a result of the moratorium and surrounding regulatory uncertainty, takes those jobs with them. This has already begun to happen. One big driller, Diamond Offshore Drilling, is moving two of its five rigs, the Ocean Endeavor and Ocean Confidence, from the Gulf to other regions. The longer the moratorium and surrounding regulatory uncertainly continue, the more rigs and companies we will see leaving the Gulf of Mexico -- perhaps for good.
“But the impacts of the moratorium reach beyond the Gulf as well. Offshore workers live throughout the United States, and products vital to the industry, such as tools, steel and boots are manufactured across this country. All those impacted should tell their congressman to end this moratorium and let the offshore industry in the Gulf get back to work for America.”
Dave Welch is also Chairman of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO of Stone Energy Corporation, a member of the NOIA Executive Committee, and a Gulf Coast resident.
NOIA is the only national trade association representing all segments of the offshore industry with an interest in the exploration and production of both traditional and renewable energy resources on the nation’s outer continental shelf. The NOIA membership comprises more than 250 companies engaged in business activities ranging from producing to drilling, engineering to marine and air transport, offshore construction to equipment manufacture and supply, telecommunications to finance and insurance.