WASHINGTON — The deepwater drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico costs at least 23,000 jobs, according to a federal document that weighed the economic impact and alternatives to the drilling ban.
A six-month suspension would directly put 9,450 people out of work and indirectly affect nearly 14,000 other jobs, according to a memo from Michael Bromwich, America's top drilling regulator. The July 10 memo to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar outlined several options regarding the suspension of offshore drilling.
Salazar issued a moratorium in June, but it was struck down by a federal judge in New Orleans after oil and gas drilling interests said it wasn't justified following the Gulf oil spill.
The Obama administration issued a new moratorium July 13 — three days after the memo — that stressed new evidence of safety concerns. The White House hopes the revised ban will pass muster with the courts.
The moratoriums were put in place following the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion April 20 that killed 11 people. Millions of gallons (liters) of oil spilled into the Gulf after the rig sank.