Obama's drilling freeze 'is costing Texas jobs'




Posted on June 12, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Updated Saturday, Jun 12 at 7:34 PM

DALLAS - At the Convention Center in Dallas, a group of legislators and oil-related company owners voiced their concerns against President Obama's six-month drilling moratorium.

Thirty three deep water drilling platforms are now on hold.

Critics say the ban is putting thousands of jobs in jeopardy.

One Texan businessman has already made drastic cuts.

At the Texas Republican Party convention in Dallas, Jerry Allamon kept his visit to an hour. He didn't come to play politics.

"I'm not politically active, I'm a small businessman," he said.

He came to save jobs.

"My heart goes out to my 18 employees, their families, their kids going to school. I'm here today to go make a plea for them, so they can go back to work," he said.

Allamon, the owner of an oil tool company in Montgomery, laid off 18 of his 32 employees last week - that's more than half of his workforce and he says he's losing thousands of dollars every day.

"Ninety percent of my business is in the deep water of Mexico. Every rig we were working on is shutdown," he said.

They are shutdown because of the president's six-month moratorium on deep water drilling.

Texas representative, Joe Barton, and other members of Congress want to repeal the ban.

"It does have the appearance of being a knee-jerk reaction to show that they were doing something," Barton said.

"This can literally shutdown drilling permanently in the Gulf of Mexico for years to come, which can have devastating economic consequences," he added.

Allamon says the issue isn't about ignoring the disaster in the Gulf. He wants more inspections, safety measures and enforcement.

He fears the moratorium will lead to more economic pain.

"There's no doubt the incident was tragic, the worst I ever seen. I've been in the oil and gas business all my life. So in that instance, it's terrible but when you shutdown an entire industry, a lot of people are going to suffer," he said.

White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, has said that the president is aware of the ban's economic cost but that it would not be right to continue on the same path, without knowing what caused the explosion.

On Tuesday, Republican lawmakers will present a bill to repeal the moratorium.

They say some Democrats are supporting it.

E-mail: mdiaz@wfaa.com