Nightly News   |  June 11, 2010

Oil workers threatened by drilling moratorium

Thousands of Gulf Coast residents whose jobs depend on the oil industry are fearful about the government’s six-month ban on all deep-water drilling. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> reporter: venice, louisiana .

>> reporter: this is tom costello, along the gulf coast , many of the tens of thousands of people whose jobs depend on the oil industry say the government's six-month ban on all deep water drilling is like pouring salt into an open wound .

>> mr. president, you were looking for someone's butt to kick, you're kicking ours.

>> reporter: the moratorium is meant to allow time for a thorough safety and environmental review so nothing like this happens again. the obama administration insists it's only temporary.

>> it's not the stop button but the pause button.

>> reporter: 33 deep rigs are shut down by the moratorium. the industry claims as many as 150,000 jobs are directly tied to the rigs from rig hands to boaters, warehousemen to service providers . the bigger concern? it costs up to $1 million a day to run a deep water rig. the moratorium may force some operators to pull out all together and move to other countries like brazil where they are not losing money.

>> would be another crippling blow to coastal louisiana and mississippi and alabama.

>> reporter: already several oil services companies have gone to court to block the ban on deep water drilling. in grand isle , louisiana , $900,000. a fuel bill. rain marine owner butch gaspar fears the moratorium will strangle the region's economy.

>> we need fuel and we need the oil. we need it to continue. we don't need anybody to get laid off over this.

>> reporter: while many here agree with the need for a thorough review, they worry it will be at the expense of their livelihoods. tom costello, nbc news, venice, louisiana .

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