Uncertainty, Lost Jobs in a Gulf Eager to Get Back to Drilling

While some stops on House Republicans' energy blitz focused on energy booms and thriving communities, a trip to the Gulf of Mexico will serve as a somber reminder to members about oil companies being driven away to other countries -- and taking the jobs with them.

Tomorrow, Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise (R) will take some colleagues, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), 60 miles beyond the southern coastline to visit a deepwater production platform and a deepwater drilling rig to see an industry struggling to get back to work after the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 -- companies that are following safety standards but still can't get a clear path to resuming production.

Scalise told PJM from this leg of the 2012 American Energy and Jobs Tour that "the irony is that there are a lot of companies paying for leases but haven't been able to fully exercise them."

He cites 19,000 lost jobs in the Gulf "because of the president's policies," and said the administration "deliberately" does not give companies clear guidance to resume operations.

The congressman compared the conundrum to a basketball game in which the referee is holding the ball while the clock's running and the teams are trying to play.

"Surely you won't find oil if the federal government won't let you," he said.