Oil & Gas Industry Day Draws Big Capitol Crowd
Hundreds of supporters, workers and leaders from Louisiana’s energy industry, wearing green “Stand Up for Energy Jobs” T-shirts, filled the Pentagon Barracks’ courtyard Monday as the Grow Louisiana Coalition (GLAC), Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA) and the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA) held its 2015 “Oil & Gas Industry Day,” which featured appearances and remarks by two of the state’s four gubernatorial candidates and other top industry leaders.
U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R-Breaux Bridge) spoke at the event. Each candidate expressed his vision for the future of Louisiana’s oil and gas industry and how the state and the industry can continue its century-long relationship to grow, deliver new jobs and address major challenges.
Vitter said the jobs produced locally and nationally by Louisiana’s oil and gas industry have been a key part of the nation’s economic recovery from 2008 and said he wants the federal government to not interfere with further development in the energy sector. He also touched on the need for lawsuit reform in Louisiana, which he says is an ongoing issue facing the state.
“At the national level, we need to get the federal government out of the way and let this industry prosper and create more jobs and more American energy,” said Vitter. “Here in Louisiana, we’re generally a very welcoming state for this type of development, but we can do better right here as well. One area [we can focus on] is to dramatically improve our litigation climate. We still have way too many attacks on good, solid job producers, way too many frivolous lawsuits, including in the energy industry with the cottage industry of legacy lawsuits continuing to thrive and prosper unfortunately.”
Commissioner Angelle noted that in his former position as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, the work he did to overturn the 2010 six-month moratorium on drilling showed the industry could continue to grow while still maintaining its commitment to the environment.
“We were not afraid to make big and bold moves when it came to fixing our coastal permitting system, and I’m happy to say we did it without sacrificing our environmental stewardship one single bit,” Commissioner Angelle told the crowd. “I want to do my part to thank Grow Louisiana, LOGA and LMOGA for putting this event together today to highlight the oil and gas industry of Louisiana. More importantly, today, I want to thank the men and women who put on their hardhats and their steel toe boots every day, kiss their families goodbye and set out to do the hard work that perhaps Washington and others don’t recognize. The work we do here in Louisiana helps fuel America.”
Executive Director of the Grow Louisiana Coalition, Marc Ehrhardt said Monday marked a milestone for the Coalition, which announced it has surpassed 10,000 members at the event. Ehrhardt said the people and businesses who support the oil and gas industry want to demonstrate the depth and breadth of the huge positive economic impact the sector has on the state. Most importantly, they want to show how essential oil and gas is to the way of life of 300,000 Louisianians working in and alongside the industry here.
“The oil and gas industry is the family living next door to you. There are oil and gas professionals working in every parish of the state. Collectively the people of Louisiana oil and gas industry earn more than $20 billion a year. We must protect them and grow our industry here,” said Ehrhardt. “Even in the face of uncertainty, history tells us that the price of oil will go up. The question that our leaders need to answer is: what Louisiana will look like when the tide turns? Louisiana should be a place where the people of the oil and gas industry can remain leaders in the exploration and production of energy for the nation and the world. Companies should be able to invest in Louisiana because of our productive, positive business climate. The members of our coalition are dedicated to working together with the communities where we live to address the common challenges that face us, from our quality of life to the coast.”
Chris John of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association also focused on economics, noting the long tradition of the energy industry in the state, which goes back more than 100 years.
LMOGA President Chris John
“From offshore to onshore, the oil and gas industry makes life more enriched for Louisiana families. The industry has been a responsible community partner for more than a century, all while creating more jobs than any other industry in Louisiana, and raising the standard of living and quality of life all across the state. With a nearly $74 billion impact on our state, the oil & gas industry will be a strong economic engine for Louisiana for years to come,” John said.
The event featured industry leaders and partners including LMOGA, LOGA, American Petroleum Institute (API), Offshore Marine Service Association, South Central Industrial Alliance, Energy Nation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce, LA1 Coalition and Gulf Economic Survival Team that was founded at the onset of the federal Gulf drilling moratorium in 2015. Major industry suppliers Ramboll Environ and Crosby Tugs also served as event sponsors.
Madere & Sons Towing Sales and Logistics Manager
Oil and Gas Industry Day drew nearly 350 people from across the state including Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Houma, Thibodaux, Morgan City and New Orleans.
The oil and gas sector is Louisiana’s largest employer, creating one out of every six jobs with salaries that are twice the state average, and for every job created in oil and gas, another 3.4 jobs elsewhere in the state. The range of jobs associated with energy in Louisiana’s energy sector could be seen in the attire of the attendants, which ranged from the bright green “We Are Louisiana Oil and Gas” T-shirts to the signature uniform of refinery and facility employees, while others wore suits and ties.