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Outrageous: Louisiana Governor Asks Judge to Lift Drilling Ban

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This post originally appeared on Daily Kos.

Bobby Jindal is a fool:

Louisiana Governor Asks Judge to Lift Deepwater Drilling Ban

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell asked a U.S. judge to lift a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico within 30 days to avoid “turning an environmental disaster into an economic catastrophe."

The drilling ban may cost Louisiana’s economy, “which was already weakened by Katrina and is now crippled by the Deepwater Horizon disaster," almost 11,000 direct and indirect jobs in five months, Caldwell said in papers filed yesterday in federal court in New Orleans.

“Even after the catastrophic events of Sept. 11, the government only shut down the airlines for three days," Caldwell said in support of Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC’s lawsuit seeking to end the moratorium.

Even advocates of expanded deepwater drilling should be able to recognize why Jindal's position is stupid beyond belief. Resuming drilling now, before we even fully understand what went wrong, will virtually guarantee that we'll have another disastrous oil spill -- and not only would another spill be an ecological and economic catastrophe, it could very well mean the end of all offshore drilling altogether. It's not just that we don't understand what what wrong, it's that as even the oil industry acknowledges, we don't currently possess the ability to contain spills like the BP blowout.

According to calculations by Jindal, 11,000 jobs are at stake, but that number surely pales in comparison to the jobs his reckless policy places at risk, both inside and outside the drilling industry. And even if his calculation is correct, during the moratorium, workers are entitled to unemployment compensation funded in part by BP.

Even if you entirely discount the value of improving safety, the long-term impacts of a deepwater drilling moratorium are minimal. According to the International Energy Agency, a one- to two-year delay would result in at most an 18 percent reduction in Gulf oil production ten years from now, at which point we had better be less dependent on oil. (That translates to less than 2 percent of national consumption.)

The only way to make sense of Jindal's position is that he is either incapable of calculating risk (certainly possible) or that he cares more about scoring political points with than doing the right thing for his state (far more likely). But this much is certain: if Bobby Jindal really wanted to protect the offshore drilling industry and his state's fragile coastline, he wouldn't be pushing to resume a dangerous practice while we still don't understand it.