[StBernard] GOVERNOR'S COLUMN: Fighting the good fight for our coast

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Aug 1 01:43:46 EDT 2006

Fighting the good fight for our coast

The past two weeks have been historic in Louisiana's fight for offshore oil and gas revenues. We are closer than ever to receiving a share of these revenues, so critical to our ability to restore our coast and to protect our communities and the nation's vital energy infrastructure.

On behalf of the State, I have filed a lawsuit to force the federal government to make the commitment to protect our coast and the nation's critical energy infrastructure. While I am pursuing this legal action to protect our coastal environment, our delegation is continuing our efforts to secure offshore oil and gas revenues.

I congratulate the members of our Congressional delegation on their perseverance in offering and moving legislation through the U.S. House and Senate and am cautiously optimistic there will be a final bill the President can sign this fall.

When I talk about our state's need for the steady stream of revenue this type of legislation would give us to accomplish the massive restoration and protection effort before us, I point out this isn't just about Louisiana. This is about America's energy and economic security because what happens on our coast - the heart of America's Energy Coast - affects every citizen in our country.

This is about a national investment in our country's domestic energy production, an investment in the most valuable real estate in the nation and worth protecting.

In 1933, a little oil derrick just off the beach in Creole, Louisiana changed everything and began our state's proud history as the number one partner with the Federal government in its offshore energy supply. This first offshore well revolutionized our ability to fuel a nation and catapulted Louisiana to the forefront of a new frontier, bringing jobs and prosperity to our state, as well as a sense of pride.

>From that first offshore well, Louisiana has grown to support thousands of miles of pipeline, hundreds of refineries and to operate the largest port system in the world. This entire network of support exists in one of the largest and most delicate expanses of coastal wetlands in the world. From off our shore, we now provide a third of all the oil and gas consumed in our country and we help secure a nation.

Unfortunately, the very ground this partnership has been built on is literally washing away. Before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we were losing about 24 square miles of our coast a year. During the two days those storms hit, we lost almost 200 square miles, certainly the greatest land loss occurring in the world today.

We in Louisiana know how important the support of offshore energy is to our nation. We also know what we need to do with any offshore revenues we may receive. I am urging our citizens to adopt a constitutional amendment that will be offered our citizens at the polls this September. I feel confident we will dedicate any offshore revenues we receive to the protection and restoration of our coast.

Our state is strong, resilient and trustworthy. We continue to show the nation we can overcome even the greatest adversity. We are critical to the success and health of America's prosperity and security and we deserve the nation's investment in our coastal protection to help us continue that critical role.


The Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation Louisiana's Fund for Louisiana's People www.louisianahelp.org

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