Letters: Energy and the environment are compatible

07 04, 2019 by Tyler Gray

The narrative that citizens and policymakers must choose between energy and the environment is fundamentally flawed. The truth is the two go hand in hand. Louisiana’s energy industry has been working to support our economy and our environment for decades — and it will continue to do so in the future.

Working together, as we have for more than a century, the people of Louisiana and the oil and natural gas industry have achieved great things. From the production of resources that helped fuel our nation’s victory in World War II to the growing energy independence that America enjoys today, oil and natural gas companies have partnered with generations of Louisianans to strengthen our country and our state.

Today, Louisiana ranks among the Top 10 crude producing states and among the top five producers of natural gas in the nation. Our oil and natural gas companies support over 260,000 jobs and contribute more than $2 billion in annual state taxes. Much of this revenue stream finds its way into local economies and helps provide critical operating resources for local governments.

In addition, the industry contributes significantly to hundreds of cultural, educational and social projects and programs throughout the state each year. These same companies also invest heavily in hurricane protection and restoration projects that help make our communities safer and stronger. In fact, revenues generated by oil and natural gas activity serve as a primary funding source for Louisiana’s coastal restoration efforts. Today, as a result of those investments, there are more coastal restoration and protection projects underway now than ever before in our state’s history.

What’s more is that the energy revolution over the last fifteen years in the United States has successfully disproved the long-held assumption that increased energy production creates higher emissions and is worse for the environment. As a result of our industry’s longstanding commitment to the environment and billions of dollars’ worth of investments in infrastructure and technology, total criteria air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen while production has significantly increased. In addition, CO2 emissions from energy use across the entire economy are at their lowest levels in nearly 25 years. Methane emissions from onshore natural gas production are down, while production is up, and our fuels are more than 99 percent cleaner.

It is clear, the oil and natural gas industry is making strides in Louisiana and all over the world — investing in people, communities, technology, infrastructure, new energies, and long term solutions that will allow us to continue to meet America’s energy needs while protecting the environment for generations to come.

Tyler Gray

President, Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association

Baton Rouge