Obama officials supported the deepwater moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico even though they knew it would have "significant negative economic impact" and would cost up to 23,000 jobs, according to documents that were filed in federal court in New Orleans last week.

The moratorium would affect 9,450 direct employees, and would result in lost jobs from indirect and induced effects for 13,797 employees, the head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM), successor to the Minerals Management Service, told Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in July.

Bromwich outlined the potential negative effects of the six-month moratorium in the Gulf in a memo to Salazar in July, which was submitted by the Department of Justice to the U.S. District Court of New Orleans last week.

"When we first learned that the administration would halt all deepwater exploration in a misguided attempt to respond to the spill, we had to assume that they just didn't understand the importance of the industry and the thousands of jobs it provides," said Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research.

"But now we learn that it wasn't a lack of knowledge about the consequences that led to the unwarranted policy, it was an outright lack of concern for the livelihoods of these hardworking Americans," he said.

Along with the loss of jobs, Bromwich estimated that the loss of natural gas output would be 4.2 Bcf to 131.6 Bcf over the next three years, while the loss of crude oil production would be 1.7 MMbbl to 544.6 MMbbl.

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