Apr 30, 2010 7:15 PM by Melissa Hawkes
One month ago President Obama announced the expansion of offshore drilling, but in the wake of this week’s disaster, the president had a change of heart depending on what caused the massive oil spill.
"We are going to make sure that any leases going forward have those safeguards,” he said. “We have also dispatched teams to the gulf to inspect all deep water rigs and platforms to address safety concerns."
He says no new offshore oil drilling leases will be issued unless rigs have new safeguards. He issued a 30-day investigation.
Don Briggs, the President of Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, says a hold any longer than that would strain Louisiana's economy.
"In the western Gulf of Mexico where we are heavily involved than yes that would have an impact," Briggs said.
Dave Thomas , Deputy Director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana, said "if there's a reduction in drilling and companies can't get out there and do the work than it's a question of how long the companies can hold on to the employees they have with a revenue drop."
Annually, oil is a 65-billion dollar industry for Louisiana. Briggs says the country can't afford to lose the oil produced off Louisiana's coast.
"We are going to need the oil and the natural gas that we are producing in the Gulf of Mexico and the rest of the country is going to need it, because 25 percent of all oil and gas that fuels this country comes through Louisiana," he said.
Tonight 47 rigs still operate in the gulf and production of oil isn't expected to stop.
The president said, "I continue to believe that domestic oil production is an important part of our overall strategy on energy security"
Briggs replied "this will not curtail the drilling industry in the Gulf of Mexico...it'd be insane to shut down something that important."