Why else would the government try to stop mining in Alaska?
The Obama administration moved Tuesday to open up a vast stretch of East Coast waters to oil and gas drilling, a decision that could have a profound impact on the economic and environmental future of states from Virginia to Georgia. The move also adds a new dimension to the legacy of President Obama.
In an announcement that outraged environmentalists and brought grudging cheers from the oil and gas industry, the Interior Department unveiled the latest part of its five-year plan for the government to sell leases for oil and gas development in federal waters from 2017 to 2022.
The plan would open up one lease sale area off the southeast stretch of the Atlantic Seaboard, an area the oil industry has long hungered to exploit. It would also open new portions of the Gulf of Mexico, which is already open to drilling. And in a move that appeased environmentalists but angered Alaskan Republicans, it will ban drilling in portions of the Arctic Ocean’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. ...
Environmentalists said opening the Atlantic waters would put the coasts of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia at risk for an environmental disaster like the BP spill that struck the Gulf Coast in 2010, when millions of barrels of oil washed ashore after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. Advocacy groups in those states said that the drilling could harm tourism, fishing and other coastal industries that are already major drivers of the Southeastern economy. ...
... Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina, a Republican who is a fiercely conservative opponent of Mr. Obama’s energy and climate change policies, said in a statement on Tuesday that Mr. Obama was “taking a step in the right direction to help North Carolina become a significant energy-producing state.”
Mr. McCrory added that oil and gas drilling would “create thousands of good paying jobs, spur activity in a host of associated industries, generate billions of dollars in tax revenue and move America closer to energy independence.”
Mr. McCrory and other Southeastern governors envision a future in which new offshore drilling stimulates job growth and new onshore industries that support it, aligning Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia with states like Texas and Louisiana as major offshore oil producers.
According to the executive summary of a report from the American Petroleum Institute (PDF):
By 2035, offshore oil and natural gas development could produce an incremental 1.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (MMboe/d), generate nearly 280,000 jobs, contribute up to $23.5 billion per year to the U.S. economy, and generate $51 billion in cumulative government revenue ..
The estimated effect in North Carolina is 55,000 jobs and $4 billion increase in state GDP by 2035. Using data from FRED, here is a simple forecast of state GDP:
The $4 billion increase sounds large but it is just a 0.5% increase in a simple forecast of state GDP. Doing the same sort of simple forecast for North Carolina over the same time period, the 55,000 jobs is a 1.2% increase.
Once again, it is most likely that the net effect of this proposal on jobs and income, which is determined in the macroeconomy, is small to nil. The issue should be a matter of benefit-cost analysis, where jobs don't much matter.