New Orleans, La. – Greater New Orleans Incorporated is meeting with political representatives to generate economic development in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. G-N-O President Michael Hecht says that while concern has centered on the 33 deepwater rigs affected by the moratorium, shallow-water drilling is being stalled by bureaucrats.
"Only five permits have been issued since April 20th and this has implications for job loss for our communities which will only redouble the impacts that we're seeing from the deepwater moratorium."
Hecht says 13,000 jobs could be at risk if shallow rigs remain sidelined. The government says more than 11,000 wells have been drilled in less than 500 feet of water in the last 15 years. Hecht says the oil and gas industry must get back to work, while government leads coastal restoration.
"Ironically the oil spill is going to be the event that can catalyze coastal restoration, and this coastal restoration is ultimately what's going to be most important in terms of preserving south Louisiana and the whole Gulf Coast as a place to live and work."
Hecht says the New Orleans region could see more high-paying jobs and cutting edge technology if it becomes expert in how to live well in coastal communities.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming