Energy secretary will visit Port Fourchon

05 27, 2014 by Daily Comet

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will be in south Lafourche Parish Tuesday to tour the hub of deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil and gas service industry.

Moniz will tour Port Fourchon with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., as part of day-long tour of Louisiana's energy sector.

The Department of Energy is responsible for various job creation and regulation aspects of the country's energy supply. Port Fourchon is the primary station servicing deepwater oil and gas in the Gulf and a significant driver of the local tax base. Port officials estimate that some 90 percent of exploration and production is serviced through the still growing port.

Before the Fourchon tour, Moniz will take part in the department's Quadrennial Energy Review at a meeting in New Orleans. President Barack Obama mandated the review in January to explore the affordability, cleanliness and security of the national's energy services. The review is intended to identify threats, risks and opportunities for the national's energy infrastructure and climate security and identify necessary policy changes.

The New Orleans gathering is the third in a series of regionally focused discussions. The local meeting will focus on petroleum energy infrastructure. The deputy secretary of the Department of Interior, which oversees the primary government regulator of offshore activity is scheduled to participate.

Earl Meador interim chancellor of Fletcher Technical Community College in Schriever will represent Louisiana’s community and technical colleges on the meeting's Workforce Development for Economic Development panel.

It's the second time in the past month Fourchon has hosted prominent visitors from the nation's capital.

Last month, U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, hosted three Republican representatives, including one-time presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., on a tour of the port and an offshore oil platform.

Landrieu is opposed in her Nov. 4 re-election bid by U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge. Landrieu's ascendancy to chair of the Senate's Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has come at an opportune time as she seeks to convince oil- and gas-friendly conservatives of her usefulness in Congress.

South Lafourche has already been used as a campaign backdrop to that end earlier this year.

Last month, the Landrieu campaign trotted out Lockport shipbuilder Donald "Boysie" Bollinger of Bollinger Shipyards to vouch for her in a 30-second ad. Bollinger is a prominent Louisiana Republican. The Lockport shipbuilder has benefited from hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to build Coast Guard ships helped through Congress during Landrieu's tenure.