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Mary Landrieu: Drilling Moratorium Could Cost More Jobs than Oil Spill

The barge Joe Griffin turns around in a channel after a crane loaded a chamber, center, that will be used to help contain oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform in Port Fourchon, La., Wednesday, May 5, 2010. AP

Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, said today she has urged the Obama administration to drop its new moratorium on deep-water, floating oil rigs because "it could cost more jobs than the spill itself."

The Interior Department issued the moratorium this week after an appeals court rejected the administration's first moratorium. The administration says the moratorium is necessary because of the uncertainty about deep-water drilling that was revealed when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, creating a massive, ongoing oil spill.

Landrieu, speaking at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce jobs summit, said the moratorium on floating rigs would be particularly damaging because they can be easily moved elsewhere.

The floating rigs are "some of the best rigs in the world, idle at $500,000 a day at a minimum," Landrieu said. "They're not going to stay idle until November 30."

She argued that driving away the rigs would not only have a negative economic impact for the United States, but also a negative environmental impact for the world, since the rigs would be sent to countries with fewer regulations and weaker court systems.

"If there's an accident like the one that happened... the ocean's in worse shape" if it occurs elsewhere, she said.

While she said she wants drilling to continue, Landrieu said she isn't sure about trusting BP.

"I'm going to put BP on notice, but the regular industry, I think, can be trusted," she said.

Landrieu praised other segments of the administration's energy policies, such as its "aggressive" push for nuclear energy and new auto technologies. Special Report: Disaster in the Gulf

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