U.S. Senator Landrieu targets offshore revenue

07 10, 2012 by Houma Courier

The next major congressional battle for Louisiana will be securing some of the revenue from offshore oil and gas drilled on federal land, Sen. Mary Landrieu said Monday at an appearance in Thibodaux.

Addressing the Bayou Industrial Group on a tour in celebration of passage of the Restore Act, Landrieu, D-La., had asked for 37.5 percent of offshore revenue in the failed Conservation and Restoration bill, which lost by a slim margin.

“Why would I do that? Because the interior states had been getting that since 1923,” she said. “The states of Wyoming, New Mexico and New Jersey have gotten 50 percent of all oil and gas drilled for on federal land in their state.”

Landrieu went on to illustrate that Wyoming kept $1 billion of its oil and gas revenue and turned over another $1 billion to the federal government in 2011.

“We have 4.5 million people. We produce more oil and gas, if you count our offshore, than Wyoming, and we sent $6 billion to Washington and kept zero, and we’ve been doing that for decades,” Landrieu said. “I can see the rigs lit up at night, and I see wealth, money and opportunity. Isn’t it a crying shame that there are billions of dollars that we can see off our coast, but it doesn’t even touch us?”

Landrieu said the revenue would go toward the infrastructure that is used by companies that extract oil and gas from the Gulf.

“These resources belong to the United States, but you couldn’t access these resources unless you come off of Port Fourchon or out of St. Mary’s Parish, New Iberia, Lafayette,” Landrieu said. “Unless you want to launch your helicopters from Honduras or Cancun, (Mexico), how would you get 50 miles into the Gulf?”

Charlotte Bollinger, executive vice president of Lockport-based Bollinger Shipyards, presented Landrieu with the Pelican Award on behalf of the Restore or Retreat Foundation.

Landrieu was making a tour of coastal Louisiana Monday to applaud the Restore Act, a measure that will send billions of dollars in oil spill fines to the Gulf Coast for restoration.

Landrieu was co-author of the legislation that will split 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines from the 2010 BP oil spill between the five Gulf Coast states.

Boysie Bollinger, CEO of Bollinger Shipyards, who also spoke at the luncheon, praised Landrieu and her work to pass the Restore Act. He also focused on energy independence and workforce development in the region.

“I listen to a lot of talk about energy, wind, solar, nuclear and coal are all great, but oil and gas are going to be in our future for many, many years to come, and we are in the heart of it,” Boysie Bollinger said. “America is becoming much more energy independent. I’m glad we’re seeing some policies that allow us to become more independent. We have the energy.”

Bollinger emphasized how important training and education are for the work force in Louisiana.

“I think we have a lot to do to improve the education system in Louisiana so that we have a better work force. We need to focus on a safety net to give those people an opportunity to get an education that allows them to be productive in the work force,” he said. “The strengthening of the community college system in Louisiana is critical to having a trained work force that can adapt to the strong demand for jobs we have in Louisiana.”