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The Joys of Art

Sunday, February 05, 2006

We are putting you demons on notice.....

Way to go Governor Blanco!!!!!!

Feb 05, 2006
EDITORIAL: Louisiana's stick

By: The Times Picayune
Published: Sunday, February 5, 2006

Louisiana's leaders have made a strong case for getting a larger, fairer share of offshore oil royalties for the state; so far, though, reason and persuasion haven't worked with Congress or the Bush administration.

But Louisiana also has a stick -- the power to oppose the sale of new offshore oil leases -- and Gov. Blanco made the right move by showing that she might use it.

She threatened, in a letter to the Minerals Management Service, to withhold support for an August sale unless Louisiana gets a more substantial piece of the revenue. And she makes the crucial link: Louisiana can't continue to support an industry that takes a real toll on the state's coastline without making sure that its needs are met.

"It is abundantly clear that allowing development to occur where inadequate provisions are made for the protection of that development is irresponsible," she wrote.

That's entirely reasonable. It's also good strategy. Now is the right time to remind Congress and the White House that Louisiana could be less cooperative in the future.

While the U.S. secretary of the interior could override the governor, the result would be a lengthy legal battle, something that the federal government would rather not go through.

But for Louisiana, it's a fight worth waging. This state desperately needs a substantial, guaranteed source of money to restore eroded marshes and rebuild shattered barrier islands. The quest has taken on a greater urgency following the depredation of Hurricane Katrina. Royalties from oil and gas production on the Outer Continental Shelf -- which bring in $6 billion a year -- are the logical source.

The strong arguments Louisiana has made for boosting its share of this revenue stream are still valid. If anything, Katrina makes them more persuasive.

There's equity: Coastal energy producing states like Louisiana aren't getting a fair shake compared to inland states that get 50 percent of the revenue from minerals extracted from federal lands within their boundaries. Louisiana has an especially poor deal. While Texas and Florida get 100 percent of the revenue from production 9 miles in the Gulf, Louisiana has control over only the first three miles and gets 27 percent of the revenues from drilling from 3 to 6 miles out. After that, Louisiana gets nothing.

There's also fairness: Louisiana has borne the burden of energy production off our shores; 80 percent of production in the Gulf of Mexico is off the coast of Louisiana. But that's come at a price. Oil and gas exploration has carved up our wetlands, and that's one of the factors in the enormous land loss this state has suffered. Using some of the money that the government is taking in from production to address the resulting environmental damage just makes sense.

And then there's Katrina. The storm proved that Louisiana leaders haven't exaggerated the state's vulnerability to storms -- a situation that's been made worse by coastal erosion. People lost their homes and businesses, the places where they play and work, worship and learn. They also lost their lives.

But it would be shortsighted to think the losses are confined to the Gulf Coast. Our perilous geography also affects the nation's energy supply because platforms and pipelines are vulnerable. A quarter of domestic drilling takes place off Louisiana's shores. The rest of the country got a taste of what that means for them when gasoline prices spiked after Katrina and Rita.

Any one of these arguments ought to be enough to persuade Congress to give Louisiana what it has sought for so long: half the revenue from oil and gas produced from 6 miles to 200 miles off its shore.

Former Sen. John Breaux says the moment might finally have arrived for Louisiana, and there are signs that he could be right. In the State of the Union address, for example, President Bush talked about the need to reduce dependence on foreign oil. That ought to mean looking out for states like Louisiana that provide domestic energy. Helping the nation to be more self-sufficient is important, but states might well hesitate if the toll taken by production is too great and the rewards too paltry.

The oil industry seems to understand that. Jeff Copeskey of Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association said that his organization hopes Gov. Blanco won't have to make good on her threat. But he said the letter "puts everyone on notice that the governor takes this very seriously."

She should. Louisiana must have the financial means to save its coast from the Gulf of Mexico's maw. But if the reasons for saving Louisiana don't prove convincing to the rest of the country, the state has leverage. And its leaders are ready to use it.

Say she won't do it!!!! Just say she won't!!!! I double dog dare you!!!!!!

p.s. President Bush God did tell me to do research on angels and now I know why they are so important (and no I don't believe in worshiping angels as it is contrary to Biblical scripture...Angels do the will of God)....The (whirl)winds of God's judgement are blowing President Bush....You knew exactly what you were writing when you wrote "Let freedom reign".....Unlike most people Mr. prez I don't underestimate you at all.....You speak many dark sentences (Daniel 11) "What has happened down here is the winds have changed..."---Randy Newman Louisiana 1927

The winds have not changed in your favor President Bush but rather to your demise....


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