President Obama's 6-month drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico is intended to head off another environmental disaster, but it may end up causing an economic one. The oil industry makes up one-sixth of Louisiana's GDP, and the state estimates the ban would result in 20,000 jobs lost, NPR reports. "It's going to be devastating for a lot of my co-workers and family and extended family," says one drilling technician.
"Guys that sell maintenance and repairs, guys that sell engines—there's lots of banks out there who only loan money to the oil and gas sector. They're going to be affected," says the CEO of an oil-services firm. He points out that many firms will likely redeploy their drilling fleets rather than sit idle for 6 months in the Gulf—and may never return. But environmentalists call that a bluff: "There are fantastic deposits off the coast of Louisiana in federal waters." says one. "And so I doubt they'll go away."