Panel holds spill hear­ings

Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION -

In New Or­leans on Tues­day, it was the hu­man cost of the spill, and the poli­cies it has spawned, that dom­i­nated the sec­ond day of hear­ings by a new com­mis­sion di­rected by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to study the rig blowout and its ef­fects.

Much of the con­ver­sa­tion fo­cused on the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s un­veil­ing Mon­day of a re­vamped mora­to­rium on deep-wa­ter drilling. Last month, a fed­eral judge ruled that the ad­min­is­tra­tion likely acted “ar­bi­trar­ily and capri­ciously” when it is­sued its orig­i­nal mora­to­rium a few weeks af­ter the rig blowout so that safety rules could be re­assessed.

Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials hope the new mora­to­rium, which they say is more nar­rowly drawn than the orig­i­nal, will pass muster with the courts.

It hasn’t won ap­proval, how­ever, with many Louisianans, who fear that a stymied off­shore in­dus­try will cost the state thou­sands of jobs.

In a pre­sen­ta­tion to the com­mis­sion, Char­lotte Ran­dolph, pres­i­dent of coastal Lafourche Parish, said the spill had dev­as­tated the lo­cal fish­ing in­dus­try and that the drilling mora­to­rium was “adding in­sult to in­jury.”

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