This is not a matter of trying to bring down an industry. This is about Louisiana taking the next step into a better, stronger, brighter future. For years and years I’ve heard about how much the Oil and Petroleum industries contribute to Louisiana, but when the truth stares you in the face, it’s frightening.
These are the employment statistics to what many would have you believe is central to Louisiana’s Economy. Especially because we hear year after year about record profits.
We’ve been tolerant here in Louisiana.
Yet, despite these earnings, it’s the public that’s bearing the brunt of the State Budget.
Three weeks ago, everything I would have written would have been in a much different tone. I think Louisiana has undergone a sobering shift the consequences of global warming, underfunded and incomplete public works, coastal erosion, and the true costs of certain industries are now realities we are starting to recognize.
Just a year ago, New Orleans was proud to be prepared for a 100 year storm, so nobody saw Baton Rouge dealing with a 1,000 year one. As Mayor Landrieu has stated, “It’s time for a new covenant, between the leaders of the oil industry and the people of Louisiana: We want you to drill and explore, but only if we repair what you have broken.”
Indeed, reports on damages are continually coming in, but one thing is certain, the economic landscape on Baton Rouge will never be the same. Many of these businesses may choose to pick up shop and move locations, leaving a workforce with no homes and bleak long term outlook, while trying to make insurance payments in hope that you were covered.
Yet, the money is starting to roll in and this time around, Louisiana needs to plan wisely. Patronage politics and blind loyalty to long-standing friendships has continually blocked progress. We can no longer wait. We all know which way the wind is blowing, it’s time.
Did you know Louisiana loses 20 square miles of coastland per year? Over the past 8 years, that’s 160 square miles of land gone. These numbers have been gone over enough times and we can no longer deny that we need action now, especially in Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District. A combined Louisiana State University and Rand Institute study gave moderate to slightly severe 25 year projections for the coastline.
Land Loss at 25 Years with A) Moderate Scenario, B) Less Optimistic Scenario
That was the moderate, below we have the severe.
At this rate, by the time a child born today would be old enough to run for Congress, there would be very little left of the 1st Congressional district in Louisiana.
On top of this, it is of utmost importance that we update and compartmentalize our energy grid. Mass power outages like those of recent weeks are a safety issue. Not just that, but as Tea Party Leader Debbie Dooley has said, “This is not a liberal issue, it has become a national security issue for our country. The grid can be attacked. Look at the Silicon Valley attack – they opened fire on some of the substations with AK-47s, took them down, and they just vanished into the night. Our grid is so centralized, it’s a national security issue.”
It’s also a jobs issue. Multiple studies have been released showing the potential benefits of these industries offering wages in excess of the $15 national minimum wage being proposed by the DNC.
In fact, there has been a detailed analysis of how these industries would effect Louisiana completed by industry expert Dr. Mark Jacobson of Stanford and the group 100.org.
He has had this information and detailed models freely available for several years. While there has been a rejection of wind as viable because of low wind speeds, recent reports show potential just off the shores of the 1st District.
Even more fortunate for Louisiana, we have a large workforce accustomed to working off shore. We have the trained transportation professionals, Amazon Prime can’t deliver massive turbines. We must maintain the tax free status of municipal bonds so we can minimize financing expenses in the future with the current low rates. And with the insurance companies getting set to raise rates, we need the Biggert Waters Act to help our residents with upcoming changes.
One more thing about windmills.
Which legacy do we want for the next generation of Louisianans? There’s a few massive reminds offshore and they are definitely not the type we want.
God Bless Louisiana and God Bless America.