Louisiana’s oil and natural gas industry is doing its part for the coast. It has for decades.

The oil and natural gas industry has been an economic partner and steward of Louisiana’s working coast for more than a century. It is providing a significant portion of the funding that will make the Coastal Master Plan a reality. Any honest evaluation of the past, as well as the efforts to protect the future, will conclude that Louisiana’s oil and natural gas industry has always been a partner in building our communities and working together on our coast.

 

For decades, Louisiana’s leaders and its citizens have understood when the oil and natural gas industry thrives the state thrives – with more and better paying jobs for hundreds of thousands of working families. It is in the best interest of our state’s culture and coast to have a safe, prospering oil and natural gas industry.

 

A productive oil and natural gas industry creates revenue for Louisiana from royalties and taxes that fill the government coffers and provide the largest stream of consistent funding the state has for working on the coast.

 

Today, there are dozens of major ongoing conservation projects funded by the industry happening across the coast with business, community, state and federal cooperation. The industry has contributed more than $4 billion to the state’s coastal restoration since 2009, and the oil and natural gas industry will contribute an estimated $200 million a year for the foreseeable future to coastal projects.

 

Currently, a partnership between the New Orleans Geological Society and five Louisiana universities is using $200 million in industry data to conduct research of seismic faults along the Louisiana coast. Miles of oyster reefs have been created through cooperative programs between the industry and local communities. The largest private wetlands landowner in the U.S. – an energy company – is caring for wetlands extending 120 miles west to east from the Atchafalaya Basin to the Mississippi River. Another energy company planted more than 1 million trees in coastal and marsh lands.

 

At the Coastal Protection and Restoration Agency (CPRA) Coastal Master Plan public comment meeting in New Orleans on Jan. 18, a noted geologist reminded the audience that when the Pyramids were built in Egypt, Louisiana’s coastline was near Covington. This fact emphasizes that our coast is an evolving natural entity. At the same time, those who are planning and overseeing a comprehensive solution have agreed there are dozens of factors that contribute to the state of Louisiana’s coastline, including the decision to construct levees along the Mississippi River, as well as movements of the earth’s faults.

 

The spirit exemplified within the coastal plan is one of unity and collaboration for a common goal. We are all in this together, and it will take the concerted effort from all parties pulling in the same direction to make an impact along Louisiana’s coast.  Louisiana cannot afford to single out the group that is already the No. 1 private investor in our coast and the largest employer in our state.

 

Selectively attacking the industry that represents $3 billion in annual taxes paid to the state and one of every six jobs here tells the thousands of Louisiana-based businesses and hundreds of thousands of Louisianians that the state would rather sue this industry than work with it.

 

The best solution is not in a courtroom. It’s working with the best science available, which the industry has, and investing our financial resources, which the industry is doing and has done for decades, into projects that can ensure both a protected coast and a working coast.