Greater New Orleans Inc., a regional economic development alliance, published a study earlier this year of the “hidden victims” of a slowdown in Gulf oil permitting thanks to the Obama administration’s moratorium. Surveying 102 small- and mid-sized companies in the oil and gas exploration support sector, the report found that 41 percent were not making a profit, half had laid off employees, 46 percent moved some or all of their operations away from the Gulf, and 82 percent business owners had lost personal savings as a result of the slowdown.

Scalise said it’s not a matter of safety — as even scientists in the president’s own commission warned that the best, safest workers and rigs would leave the area — but how President Obama “bowed to environmentalists.”

“People see the lost jobs,” he said. “They see neighbors of theirs, they watch their jobs go to Brazil.” Ten rigs have even relocated from the Gulf, even to Egypt and Ghana, he added. “That’s an embarrassing indictment of the president’s failed energy policies.”

As Obama tries to head off the Republicans’ energy offensive by talking about wind power in Iowa, Scalise said that the commander in chief’s record is haunted by missteps from Solyndra waste and the EPA’s war on fracking to the Keystone pipeline rejection.

“I think the president is realizing now that three years of failed energy policies have caught up with him,” Scalise said.