Landrieu Blocks Obama OMB Pick over Drilling Ban 

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is officially playing hardball with the Obama administration over the six-month ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Landrieu announced Thursday afternoon she will block Obama’s nominee for the Office of Management and Budget, Jack Lew, until the president lifts the moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling is lifted “or significantly modified.”

Landrieu said in a statement that some economists estimate up to 58,000 jobs could be lost or in jeopardy because of the ban, which was put in place on May 27, following the BP oil spill disaster.

“Although Mr. Lew clearly possesses the expertise necessary to serve as one of the President’s most important economic advisors, I found that he lacked sufficient concern for the host of economic challenges confronting the Gulf Coast,” Landrieu wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “The fact that the most acute of these economic challenges, the moratorium, results from a direct (and reversible) federal action only serves to harden my stance on Mr. Lew’s nomination. I cannot support further action on Mr. Lew’s nomination to be a key economic advisor to the President until I am convinced that the President and his Administration understand the detrimental impacts that the actual and de facto moratoria continue to have on the Gulf Coast.”

The ban has been struck down in federal court but the administration is appealing the ruling.

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Susan Ferrechio

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