BRIGGS: Oil And Gas Industry Ready To Engage New Officials
The citizens across the great state of Louisiana exercised their rights and elected a whole new group of elected officials. From the parish police jury, to the legislature, to the attorney general’s office, to the governor’s office, new men and women will assume new offices, new positions and will work with new constituents. The Louisiana oil and gas industry sends our deepest congratulations to each and every one of you.
Newly elected officials can mean new laws will be proposed at the local, parish and state levels of government. Each of these men and women come into the respective office with a new agenda, new policies and new future goals. Specifically, for the Louisiana oil and gas industry, we stand ready to work with every new official.
Over the past several years, we have seen a continual shift of power. Historically, the industry was fighting good and bad regulations at the legislative and executive branches of government. Now, the industry is working with officials at the local mayor’s office, the police jury, and the parish council, in the courtrooms and at the attorney general’s office as well. No longer is the industry simply focusing on the legislative branch as the only location where industry impacting laws and regulations can be introduced and enacted.
As we move into a new term for Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards, we can expect a new set of policies and procedures, new appointees at the regulatory bodies, and potentially a new legislative agenda that could impact the oil and gas industry. In a state with a severe budget deficit, low-$40 crude oil, $2 natural gas and thousands of men and women now unemployed, the industry hopes that any new changes to state regulations will be positive.
Since November of 2014, the oil and gas industry has experienced over 200,000 layoffs due to low crude oil and natural gas prices. The current downturn does not seem to be ending any time soon. In 2015, the oil and gas industry experienced historic low permitting and record low drilling and rig counts – far lower than even the crash of the 1980’s. What does this have to do with a new governor?
A new governor will have the ability to select a new Commissioner of Conservation. This position alone can greatly impact our industry for good or bad. This position oversees all regulations for oil and gas.
A new governor has the ability to select new members to the Louisiana Tax Commission. This commission alone can make or break future activity based off of tax evaluations made on the industry. And finally a new governor will have the opportunity to push for legal reform. Our state is now home to over 355 legacy lawsuits and numerous coastal lawsuits filed against the oil and gas industry. A new governor can recognize the impact that a litigious legal climate is having on our state.
Governor-Elect Edwards has the full capability of doing great things for Louisiana. We stand ready to begin this dialogue. We have worked with new governors in the past with great success. Our relationship with Governor-Elect Edwards can be just that strong.