- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kara Rowland’s Thursday Page One article “Anger spills over on drilling halt report” described how a series of basic keystrokes resulted in drastic editing changes to an offshore drilling report delivered to President Obama. Miss Rowland described how the report was tweaked by a White House staffer to misrepresent the recommendations of outside scientists and engineers, making it seem that they supported a moratorium.

The result: a document giving the Obama administration rationale for paralyzing the Gulf energy industry. A few days later, the government instituted a six-month blanket moratorium undermining thousands of jobs in the Gulf of Mexico.

One of those jobs was mine. That’s why I traveled this week from my home in Louisiana to Washington to let the oil-spill commission hear my voice and know my story. After the drilling ban was announced, every order for my specialized company - which provides machine parts for offshore drilling rigs - was canceled. We nearly went under. Even though the moratorium was “lifted,” I continue to suffer from a 50 percent decrease in business because of the permitting freeze.

For government officials, the late-night edits to the moratorium report may have seemed like a simple rearrangement of words. But for my company and the hundreds of others like it here by the Gulf of Mexico, those changes delivered a punishing blow to an already reeling local economy. Adding insult to injury, Louisiana State University economist Joseph Mason said the government economic-impact report underestimated jobs losses by 7,500 to 11,500 positions.

THOMAS CLEMENTS

Oilfield CNC Machining LLC

Broussard, La.