"WASHINGTON — The deep-water drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico has not increased unemployment in the region, says a new report from the Obama administration that was immediately disputed by Louisiana lawmakers.
The report, released at a Senate hearing Thursday, said the moratorium imposed after the BP oil spill might have temporarily cost 8,000 to 12,000 jobs on oil rigs and elsewhere. But it found no net job loss in the region, thanks in part to a big hiring push for cleanup crews and massive spending by BP on the recovery effort.
The scenario is far rosier than described in some previous reports, including an Interior Department estimate over the summer that said there could be 23,000 jobs lost from the moratorium.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., a leading critic of the moratorium, attacked the report and said the "heavy hand of the federal government" was placing thousands of jobs in the Gulf at risk."
Erica Werner and Matthew Daly report for the Associated Press September 16, 2010.