Chris John: Oil and gas contributes to Louisiana way of life

05 10, 2014 by Daily Advertiser

The oil and gas industry is woven in the very fabric of Louisiana.

This is a fact that often goes overlooked in the day-to-day lives of the citizens of the state.

Industry efforts support many of the activities that folks take for granted as just a way of life. Despite this, the state has seen a wave of anti-industry sentiment recently that demands response. Let me take the time to examine the facts and set the record straight on the industry’s positive impact to Louisiana.

Budgets are a source of worry for all families in Louisiana. The state treasury is no different.

The industry has long been a steady contributor to the coffers of the state. In fiscal year 10 alone, the oil and gas industry submitted a total of $2.5 billion to the state and more than $1 billion to local government treasuries. With this money, the state and local governments are able to provide services citizens need — be it schools, roads and infrastructure, etc.

In 1982, the oil and gas industry contributed to 42 percent of the state budget. I think it is fair to say the industry has long helped the state run and care for its citizens.

Another key concern for families is steady employment. The oil and gas industry provides well-paying jobs in droves. In 2009, the industry generated more than $16.1 billion dollars in household earnings (and $5 billion in wages) for the 310,000 Louisianans supporting the industry. These jobs are found in all of the state’s 64 parishes. Lafayette Parish enjoys a particularly good economic climate, ranking No. 1 in parish employment for the industry.

These jobs provide a way of life many have come to expect. From the E&P and service companies who find and produce needed natural resources, to the pipeline companies who transport the production and products, to the refineries who transform the production into usable materials, the industry makes life easier. Remember that when you are driving to Mother’s Day activities. Affordable fuel, air conditioning, and drivable roads become all the more important when traveling across the Gulf Coast this time of year.

Now, back to the anti-industry sentiment I mentioned. I ask myself why; perhaps you do, too. Some is generated by plaintiff lawyers suing the industry for millions of dollars for activities conducted some 75 to 100 years ago. Some is generated by well-intentioned but misinformed environmental groups and environmental leaders. Finally, local citizen groups who don’t understand the safety and performance records of our industry.

It all goes back to education. We must do a better job keeping Louisiana citizens informed about the successes and history of this great industry. We all depend on and prosper from it.

Keep this in mind as you enjoy your Mother’s Day events — activities, perhaps, made more enjoyable by the efforts of the oil and gas industry.