Previously undisclosed documents have measured the economic impact of the U.S. federal moratorium on deep-water oil drilling at 23,000 jobs lost and billions of dollars in frozen investment. Federal officials went ahead with the ban, now tied up in court, because they distrusted industry safety equipment and standards.

While 23,000 is a lot of jobs, that loss may pale in comparison with the economic devastation caused by the Gulf oil well blowout. –JCL

The Wall Street Journal:

Critics of the moratorium, including Gulf Coast political figures and oil-industry leaders, have said it is crippling the region’s economy, and some have called on the administration to make public its economic analysis. A federal judge who in June threw out an earlier six-month moratorium faulted the administration for playing down the economic effects.

After his action, administration officials considered alternatives and weighed the economic costs, the newly released documents show. The Justice Department filed them in a New Orleans court this week, in response to the latest round of litigation over the moratorium.

Spanning more than 27,000 pages, they provide an unusually detailed look at the debate about how to respond to legal and political opposition to the moratorium.

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