Tuesday, 13 July 2010 17:45

BP Oil Spill: Louisiana Jindal, Vitter, Landrieu, Melancon On Gulf Moratorium

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Louisiana Governor Jindal, Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator David Vitter and Congressman Charlie Melancon have  all issued statements concerning the new US government  and Obama  administration new Gulf of Mexico Oil drilling moratorium that was announced on Monday.

Melancon and Vitter are opponents for the seat of US Senator.

Jindal and Vitter are republicans and Landrieu and Melancon are democrats.

Here are their respective statements:

Governor Bobby Jindal

BATON ROUGE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal released the following statement on Secretary Salazar’s second suspension of deepwater drilling:

“This second suspension of deepwater drilling is a clear sign that the Administration is unwilling to follow the advice of their own scientists and instead insists on crippling our energy industry, our coastal communities, and killing jobs.. They have already lost twice in court and one judge ruled that their moratorium was ‘arbitrary and capricious,’ but instead of listening to these legal rulings they are trying to game the system by initiating a second moratorium and then asking the court to abandon their move to block the first moratorium.

“The ultimate effect of this second moratorium is the same as the first – to shut down drilling operations in the Gulf and risk killing an estimated 20,000 jobs in Louisiana and result in a loss of $65 to $135 million in wages to Louisianians each month. We certainly don’t want even one more drop of oil in our water or on our shores, but we need the federal government to do their jobs to ensure drilling is done safely without killing thousands of jobs for our people.

US Senator David Vitter…July 12
U.S. Sen. David Vitter today made the following comments regarding the Obama administration’s announcement that it will issue a new revised offshore drilling moratorium.

“Even after a federal appeals court rejected the government's previous efforts to ban drilling off our coast, the Obama administration is still pushing for a moratorium that could devastate Louisiana’s economy,” said Vitter.  “A more prudent course than this across the board moratorium is to conduct increased rig inspections with tougher safety regulations.  Instead the president continues to push this moratorium, which only wreaks havoc on Louisiana jobs at a time when our economy is already suffering,” said Vitter.

Rep.  Charlie Melancon

U.S Rep. Charlie Melancon (LA-03) issued the following statement responding to new suspensions on deepwater drilling issued by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today.

“I am deeply disappointed that the Obama Administration is again turning a blind eye to the severe economic harm this moratorium is causing Louisiana’s workers and small businesses,” said Congressman Melancon. “At a time when we are already suffering from the BP oil disaster in the Gulf, this continued suspension will cost our state more jobs and revenue. As long as the Obama Administration leaves undefined the new standards for safety, this shortsighted policy won’t be reversed any time soon.  Louisianians have had enough and want to get back to producing energy for our nation.”

Congressman Melancon represents in Congress the areas of coastal Louisiana most directly affected by the oil leak, including Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary and southern Jefferson Parishes.  The Deepwater Horizon platform was located 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana’s Third Congressional District.

The BP oil disaster has impacted three major sectors of Louisiana’s economy – fishing, offshore energy production, and tourism – affecting thousands of workers.   To reduce the long-term economic harm of the oil disaster, Congressman Melancon has also been pressing the federal government to end the moratorium on deep-water drilling and clarify new regulations for shallow-water drilling that have created a “de facto” moratorium in the Gulf.  The offshore energy industry is a major economic engine for south Louisiana, providing thousands of jobs and supporting numerous locally-based service companies in Congressman Melancon’s Congressional district.

US Senator Mary Landrieu
WASHINGTON –  United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today gave testimony to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling at its first public meeting in New Orleans.  In her comments, Sen. Landrieu stated that the Administration’s revised deepwater drilling moratorium still puts thousands of Gulf Coast jobs at risk and urged the Commission to recommend the immediate termination of a prolonged and arbitrary ban on offshore oil and gas development.
Sen. Landrieu’s statement to the Commission, as prepared for delivery, is as follows:
“It has now been 84 days since the tragic explosion of the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 men, injured 17 others, and set into motion a great ecological and economic crisis along the Gulf Coast. Please know, however, that this was a coast in crisis well before this disaster took place.
“We must remember that these are not just Louisiana’s wetlands -- they are America’s wetlands, and this is America’s energy coast. For nearly a century, the oil and gas, fishing, shipping, ecotourism, and hospitality industries have all shared it, creating thousands of jobs and a way of life that is both unique and precious in America.  
“Accounting for 40 percent of the nation’s wetlands, Louisiana’s coast produces 90 percent of America’s offshore energy and 40 percent of the seafood harvested in the lower 48 states. In addition, as the strategic hub and entry point to our nation’s navigation network, Louisiana ports and waterways carry over a billion tons of cargo each year, which is worth $10 billion to the economy annually.
“Balancing the needs of these industries has been essential to the economy and culture of the Gulf Coast, and despite the horrors of this immediate situation, we must improve and accelerate our efforts to maintain this balance into the future.
“That is why many people in Louisiana, including me, believe that the Administration’s original blanket six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling was unnecessary, ill-conceived and has actually created a second economic disaster for the Gulf Coast that has the potential to become greater than the first.
“About an hour ago, Secretary Salazar announced ‘new deepwater drilling suspensions.’  Unfortunately, this new plan does not address many of the concerns expressed by the experts, the court system, and families and businesses along the Gulf Coast.
“I am particularly alarmed by the Department of the Interior’s continued insistence that allowing deepwater drilling to move forward ‘would pose a threat of serious, irreparable, or immediate harm or damage to the marine, coastal, and human environment.’  That claim contradicts testimony given by drilling experts and ignores the history of oil and gas operations in the Gulf.
“If this Commission and our nation are to learn the right lessons from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, we must put this accident into perspective. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, more than 42,000 wells have been drilled in the Gulf from 1947 to 2009, producing 16.5 billion barrels of oil. It is important to note that in the last 10 years, non-hurricane related spills only totaled about 7,000 barrels. Right now, this rouge well in the Gulf is gushing an entire decades’ worth of oil spills every six hours. While more effective regulations and greater transparency are a must, the record is clear that the Deepwater Horizon accident is the exception rather than the rule.
“As residents of this working coast, we want – as much as anyone – for this drilling to be safe for our people and our environment. But we also know full well what a prolonged suspension of deepwater drilling until November 30th will mean for hundreds of oil service companies, other small businesses, and families across the region. In today’s announcement, the Administration has left the door open to resume drilling operations sooner, but Gulf Coast businesses and investors still lack the certainty they need to move forward with future plans.
“Whether you call it a moratorium, a suspension, or a pause, the result will still be a substantial loss of jobs. Even the revised moratorium will force thousands of hard-working Louisianians and others along the Gulf Coast into the unemployment lines.
“I strongly urge this Commission to take the quick and decisive action to recommend immediately lifting the moratorium to save our businesses, our economy and our way of life.
“Secretary Salazar’s announcement today seems to indicate the new suspensions require the collection and analysis of key evidence before deepwater drilling can start again. The work of your Commission will be a critical element of that process, which means the Commission must complete its work in a more expedited manner.  
“We know what these suspensions will do to Gulf Coast families and to our economy. Yet, it seems that the Administration has ignored this data and failed to conduct its own economic analysis.  
“Please consider that idling the 33 deepwater rigs currently permitted to drill in the deepwater Gulf would immediately impact employment for as many as 46,000 crewmen, deck hands, engineers, welders, ROV operators, caterers, helicopter pilots, and others who operate and service these vessels.  
“That is the equivalent of laying off every firefighter and police officer in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.  
“According to the Gulf Economic Survival Team, the drilling suspension is expected to result in the loss of between 3,000 to 6,000 Louisiana jobs in the first two to three weeks; 10,000 jobs within a few months; and some 20,000 existing and potential new jobs if this Commission takes longer than six months to conduct your reviews and write your report.  Keep in mind that those figures only describe the impacts to Louisiana – neighboring states will also be impacted.
“In addition, according to the Gulf Economic Survival Team, long-term job loss in Louisiana could reach 120,000 by 2014. I’d like to repeat that: 120,000 people out of work in Louisiana alone.  That is not something we can survive or tolerate. We cannot simply close down the offshore oil and gas sector without devastating economic impacts.
“The second point I would like to mention is that a long-term plan, not just for cleaning up the oil staining our shores, but for restoring our wetlands is long overdue. As I have said many times, BP will pay every penny of the cleanup costs and fully compensate those who have been damaged by this accident. In my view, the establishment of the $20 billion fund is a significant step in the right direction. However, more money may be required to help families and communities suffering because of BP’s negligence.   
“But, the federal government must also follow through on its commitment to a long-term plan to restore and protect our coast. As I said in my opening, this coast was in crisis long before the Deepwater Horizon accident. To date, more than 2,000 square miles of wetlands have been converted into open water since 1900 – a landmass the size of Delaware.  Worse, Louisiana loses a football field of land every 38 minutes, and scientists forecast the loss of another 500 square miles by 2050 unless action is taken.  If something immediate is not done, the continued degradation of our coast will have disastrous results for people who call this region home.
“Prior to this disaster, efforts to protect our fragile and deteriorating coast have met with resistance from a federal government unwilling to acknowledge the risk communities bear when hosting drilling offshore. I sincerely hope that the last 84 days of the around-the-clock media coverage of oil pooling in our marsh grasses, tar balls washing up onto our beaches, and oil drenching pelicans and turtles has put that argument to rest.
“To give the Gulf states a fighting chance to save their coast and America’s wetlands, a fair sharing of oil and gas royalties and severance revenues must begin immediately, like interior states have received since the 1920s. This robust, dedicated stream of revenue holds the key to saving our bountiful marshes and wetlands, and implementing the coastal protection and restoration plans that Louisianians have developed over the last two decades.
“We all remember the heroic tale of Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who successfully landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, saving all 155 people on board the plane.  Some of us also recall an incident less than a month later that did not have such a happy ending.  It was a routine flight, something that occurs nearly 30,000 times each day.
“Continental flight 3047 took off from Newark Liberty International Airport at 9:20 p.m. on February 12, 2009, en route to Buffalo Niagara International Airport.  The plane encountered frigid and icy conditions and crashed into a house outside of Buffalo about an hour after takeoff, killing 49 passengers and crew on board.  
“As is customary, an investigation ensued. From the time of the accident until the release of the report, more than 10 million commercial flights took off in the U.S.  If the federal government wanted to ensure that no other accidents occurred while they were figuring out what caused that horrible tragedy outside of Buffalo, they could have grounded those 10 million flights.  But, they understood that the economic devastation caused by such a decision would far outweigh the risk of continuing to fly while the investigation proceeded.
“I urge this Commission to consider the economic damage and irreversible consequences of this deepwater moratorium on the Gulf Coast.  We all want to find out how something so tragic could have happened.  And, we all want to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.  We just cannot afford to cripple the Gulf Coast region’s economy to do it.”

Read other articles and columns on Bayoubuzz.com concerning the oil moratorium

Talk about the gulf drilling moratorium, below:  Do you agree with the  Obama administration?  With the opponents to the moratorium?  What would you do?  Whose position above do you agree with the most?

Bayoubuzz Staff

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