Letters: Gulf investment growing again

07 05, 2012 by The Advocate

The great success of the recent federal lease sale for the waters of the Central Gulf of Mexico, drawing $1.7 billion in successful bids, should serve as proof of what Louisiana and the Back-to-Work Coalition have been telling federal regulators for some time — exploration and production companies have both the money and the desire to invest in the Gulf of Mexico.

That $1.7 billion investment was an act of good faith by the industry, based on the ground we have gained in the effort to return to a reasonable pace of permitting new projects. Though the permitting process is not yet where we want it, the progress we have made provides confidence to the industry that operators can develop the resources of the Gulf of Mexico.

They are banking on the promise of continued improvement in efficiency of a permitting process that appropriately balances safety and environmental concerns with a stable, predictable regulatory system that allows for development of the Gulf resources that support jobs, our economy and our energy needs. Regulators of the industry must make good on that promise to allow Louisiana, the Gulf Coast and the nation to make good use of the resources of the Gulf to provide energy, improve our economy and create jobs, while never sacrificing our environment.

We have made clear to the federal administration that a robust, yet safe, permitting process is the basis for increasing the industry’s ability to support thousands of good-paying jobs, which in turn create the potential for thousands of new homes to be built, thousands of new cars and trucks to be sold, fleets of boats to be hired and maintained; as well as opportunities for furniture stores, restaurants and service companies to become very busy again.

The strong showing at this most-recent federal lease sale is confirmation of what many of us have said and still believe, that there is a lot of golf left in the Gulf — and the time is now to take advantage of the opportunity and the energy it holds.

Scott A. Angelle, secretary

Louisiana Department of Natural Resources

Baton Rouge