Friday, 21 February 2014 20:18

The energy surrounding Louisiana Mary Landrieu's new chairmanship

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congress-fight No doubt, Mary Landrieu, who is running for re-election for US Senator has the clout the Louisiana citizens would want from their congressional lawmakers.


Seniority and power has always been important to the voters of this state and virtually every other state. 

Rarely was the position of influence more heralded than when Bob Livingston, former Louisiana Congressman was about to take power as the Speaker of the House, only to resign the plum seat after being outed for his own transgression by the "hustler", Larry Flint.

  1. Republicans and Democrats alike urged Livingston to reconsider, calling his departure a real blow to the state's welfare.
  2. That was before the cries over "earmarks".  It was at the time when bringing home the bacon kept the communities fat and happy.  It was also before President Barack Obama's presidency, healthcare reform--named Obamacare--and prior to the state turning royal red after being solidly democratic blue.

Now, the national and local GOP haes made the removal of Landrieu, mission-critical, despite her newly-achieved Chairmanship of a committee that is unquestionably vital to the state's economy and interests.

Much of the Jindal economic boom in Louisiana is based upon the energy industry.  Landrieu heads the Senate top spot, so what else would the voters want?

Well, the LaGOP is promoting the banner than Landrieu's new energy station would actually be bad for the state's economy as well as that of the nation's.

Unquestionably, given her weakness in the polls to date, that type of attack against Landrieu would be fatal, if true and if believed.

Obviously, state Republican Chairman Roger Villere and gang will continue to support the proposition that Landrieu's energy chairmanship would be ruinous to Louisiana and that her newly-acquired spot makes Louisiana weaker rather than stronger. 

Meantime, the Landrieu camp is insisting that her appointment means "happy times are here again" for Louisiana and for the country.

Today, her office emailed clippings from various papers touting her choice and the benefits to the state and for the U.S.

Below are those clippings.  Underneath those are reports that sport somewhat of a different side of the argument.

Clippings touted by Landrieu 

WASHINGTON –  Since the Senate  appointed U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., the Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, newspapers across Louisiana and the country have called it a "good choice," "a coup for Louisiana," while underscoring Sen. Landrieu's strong record of increasing domestic energy production and securing funding to restore Louisiana's coast.

The Times-Picayune:  Sen. Mary Landrieu good choice for leadership of Energy Committee: Editorial

  ‘Sen. Mary Landrieu's elevation as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is   significant for Louisiana. Not only is the oil and gas industry a major force in the state's economy, the position also gives her a high-profile platform to continue pushing for resources that are             essential to restoring our coastline.

            Election politics aside, though, Sen. Landrieu is particularly qualified for this position. She has a depth of knowledge about energy production that will serve her and the public well. And despite concerns by some environmentalists that she is too friendly with industry, she has fought for years             for the preservation of Louisiana's fragile coast.’ [TP, 2/19/2014]

The Advocate: Our Views: Top Job for Landrieu

          ‘For a senator from an energy state, there are few prizes in politics greater than that of     the Energy and Natural Resources Committee of the U.S. Senate.

            While Landrieu has been a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, her influence in the chamber is enhanced by the chairmanship. Given the importance of energy policy to Louisiana’s economy, we hope that influence is of value in a time of  dramatic changes in the nation’s energy profile, not just in oil and gas production but in the realms of renewable energy as well.’ [The Advocate, 2/21/14]

Louisiana Weekly:  A coup for Louisiana

          ‘Louisiana has arrived, once more.

            Want to finally get the state’s fair share of royalties from offshore oil drilling in the Western Gulf of Mexico? Crave the resources to reconstruct our wetland defenses and still have a bit left over to cut  income taxes? It is now possible.

            If we are smart, if we care about our state, if we care about jobs in our state and a brighter economic   future in our state, we should thank our lucky stars that we have a Louisianian in this powerful  position and make sure that she stays there!’ [Louisiana Weekly, 2/17/14]

The Town Talk: Sen. Landrieu is right for Energy post

          ‘It will be difficult to find a sitting senator who has done more to advance the interests of the oil and gas business than Landrieu. She has voted against unfair taxes and undue regulations that would   stifle oil and gas production. She has stood up to presidents from both political parties, and on at             least four occasions has been a crucial vote to prevent raising taxes on oil and gas.

            Landrieu has led the fight to encourage more production of domestic energy, and her signature   legislation, the Domenci-Landrieu Gulf of Mexico Security Act, known as GOMESA, was perhaps    the most significant legislative accomplishment to benefit the oil and gas industry in decades. The             act opened 8.3 million acres offshore for drilling, the first time we opened new areas for drilling in  25 years. For the first time in 50 years, the act implemented revenue sharing for Gulf Coast states  like Louisiana that produce energy offshore. As a direct result of GOMESA, Louisiana citizens stand             to collect billions of dollars to restore our coast for generations to come.

            She’ll be in a prime position to pass the FAIR Act, another of her signature bills that will speed up revenue sharing that passed into law under GOMESA and get rid of the arbitrary $500 million annual cap on revenue collected by coastal energy-producing states like Louisiana. That would       mean hundreds of millions of dollars more for coastal restoration.” [The Town Talk, 2/13/14]

New York Times:  Energy Role Is Lifting Democrat in Louisiana

            ‘Ms. Landrieu will take control of the committee at a transformative moment for the American             energy economy. Breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing technology have created a boom in  domestic oil and gas production, kicking off debates about the safety of the process and over whether the United States should export its newfound fossil fuels. There is a ban on exporting crude  oil, while several companies have applied for permits to begin exporting natural gas. Although  many Democrats oppose exporting fossil fuels, Ms. Landrieu described herself as “very favorably             inclined to opening up our markets so there will be incentives to find oil and gas.”

            Ms. Landrieu will become part of a long tradition of Louisiana lawmakers who rose to power in  Washington and used their clout to help oil companies. Among them are J. Bennett Johnston Jr., a   former Louisiana Democratic senator who was the chairman or ranking member of the Senate             Energy Committee from 1983 to 1997. “It means a great deal,” Mr. Johnston said of the energy chairmanship. “Oil and gas is No. 1 in Louisiana.’ [NY Times, 2/6/2014]


Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) had abumpy first day as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week. First, Washington got hit with a nasty snowstorm. (It’s common for the worst storms of the winter to hit the region sometime around Valentine’s Day and President’s Day). Only four senators showed up for Landrieu’s debut as committee chairman, succeeding Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who moved to the finance committee, replacing Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who is now US ambassador to China. The committee was scheduled to take up executive branch nominations, including Rhea Suh to be the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, but the nomination has proved to be controversial, with Republicans casting her as a foe of fossil fuel development on federal lands. Among those casting aspersions about Suh’s views is Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who will challenge Landrieu for the Pelican State’s Senate seat in November. But with only four solons present last week, the committee was unable to conduct business

Steyer has been a vocal opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline and has called on the Obama administration to reject a permit that would allow the project to cross the U.S.-Canadian border.

The pipeline has taken on a wider meaning for Obama, who says he is committed to energy independence and weaning the nation off fossil fuels blamed for climate change.

Steyer's NextGen group is even willing to challenge vulnerable Democrats who have voiced support for the Keystone pipeline.

Earlier this month, it launched a campaign to get people to vote online for a candidate that NextGen should target in its next TV ad. The list includes newly minted Senate Energy Committee Chair Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat.

Chris Lehane, a political adviser to Steyer, told reporters that it is not in the interest of a vulnerable candidate like Landrieu to take a strong pro-energy industry stance when "fossil fuel companies are still spending a ton of dough to take you out."

Lehane said NextGen was looking at 14 possible campaigns to target this election season but said they have not finalized the list.,0,1493539.story

Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from oil-rich Louisiana, has been named the new Chair of the SenateEnergy and Natural Resourcescommittee and, unlike her predecessor,Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Landrieu's political prospects are closely tied to the industries she will be regulating.

Oil and gas interests have contributed more than $1 million to the Louisiana Democrat's campaigns since 1989, Influence Explorer datareveals. Other energy interests have also chipped in: Entergy Corporation, an electric power supplier that serves parts of Louisiana, has accounted for a little over $87,000 in campaign contributions

 Our senior senator is now the chair of the Senate’s powerful Energy and Natural Resources Committee. That’s a good thing for Louisiana, a good thing for the oil and gas industry, and some environmentalists say it’s a good thing for their agenda, too. But Democrat Mary Landrieu is up for re-election, and politics can temper what would normally earn a senator an easy high five in her home state.

Lafayette oilman Mark Miller is chair-elect of the Independent Petroleum Association of America and a longtime Landrieu supporter. During a recent trip to D.C., Miller witnessed first-hand Landrieu working her Senate colleagues. “Her leadership and background in oil and gas can only produce good things for Louisiana,” he says. “She really is the thought leader when it comes to the future of the industry, and I think her chairmanship reflects that. I think she’ll accomplish a whole list of big things, including opening up more of the East coast and California coast for exploration.”  

You might also expect the president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association to be wildly enthusiastic at the news, but LOGA President Don Briggs says simply, “Her position as chairman of the committee can certainly help the Louisiana oil and gas industry.” He adds that Landrieu, as Louisiana’s top Dem, should have stepped in recently to prevent a state party vote in support of the lawsuits filed against the industry’s operations in coastal Louisiana. (He notes that she attended the national trial lawyers convention in New Orleans instead.) Although LOGA’s charter prohibits the group from endorsing candidates in federal races, Briggs has contributed personally to Landrieu’s opponent, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, for this election (he supported Landrieu in 2008) and senses that LOGA members are split on the race.

Stephen Sabludowsky | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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