Although the Obama Administration has lifted the drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico, the question remains if the Interior Department will issue permits in a timely manner.

Officials said they expect at least some of the rigs to be drilling again by the end of the year, although they are uncertain about when the first permit might be cleared.

Local gulf leaders estimate 8,000 to 12,000 jobs may have been temporarily lost due to idle rigs and rigs that have left the region to operate in other parts of the world.  Additional delays in the permit process will only add to job losses in the region.