This piece originally appeared in the Lafayette Advertiser…
The Deepwater Horizon well that has been leaking oil into the Gulf for 87 days has been capped. The state of Louisiana is buzzing with cautious optimism. We may be cautiously celebrating, but we are optimistic nonetheless.
We are optimistic because there is no oil flowing from the well. We are optimistic because we can now begin to assess the damage and begin the cleanup in earnest. We are optimistic because we know that scientific processes will work, and we can foresee an end to this disaster.
We applaud the efforts of the engineers and operators who have been tirelessly at work to stop the flow of oil from this well. Thank you for helping us take the first step toward recovery.
Company officials and the government continue to work together and review data to ensure the safety of the capping process, and the process of drilling two relief wells has started again.
This is the sort of process that should have been the focus from the beginning of the disaster – a cooperative endeavor by BP, government and the industry to regulate and ensure the safety of all drilling operations for the workers on the rigs, the environment and the people of the Gulf coast.
The next step toward recovery should be the lifting of the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. If there ever were a reason to lift the ban on drilling, it should be the proof that scientific processes work.
We must not continue to punish the workers and economy of the state of Louisiana for the mistakes of one company.
Come join thousands of concerned citizens in Lafayette on Wednesday, July 21 to urge the federal government to lift the moratorium that is crippling Louisiana’s economic activity. The Rally For Economic Survival, held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Cajundome, will give a united voice to all Louisiana citizens impacted by the federal ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and send a message to the Obama administration to lift the moratorium for Louisiana’s jobs and America’s energy future.
The continuing moratorium on offshore drilling affects many more people than the 320,000 working jobs in Louisiana supported by the oil and gas industry. As a result, it also affects far more than the 58,000 Louisianans working in extraction, refining and pipeline jobs.
Louisiana’s oil and gas industry has more than a $70 billion annual impact. The industry supports more than 15 percent of household income in the state — $12.7 billion annually.
That means the economic standstill caused by the moratorium affects everyone — from a restaurant server in Lafayette whose tips suffer because the customers aren’t coming, to the caterer in Houma whose client base has vanished, to the small trucking company in Fourchon with nothing to transport.
Each day the moratorium continues, $34.8 million is out of commerce. That means people have less money to utilize services, to dine out, to patronize shops, to purchase goods and to support our small businesses.
This moratorium affects us all. Prolonging the moratorium only serves to hurt Louisiana’s economy and workers.
Don Briggs is president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. He can be reached at [email protected].