Times-Picayune Almost Gets It Right On Ed Markey’s Attack On Louisiana

Once in a while you can read a good editorial in the Times-Picayune. Not often, but once in a while.

And this morning there’s a good one. It’s not great, but it’s good.

The subject? Rep. Ed Markey (D-Soros) and his assault on Louisiana’s offshore oil royalties.

Louisiana fought long and hard to persuade Congress to give coastal states a fair share of offshore oil revenues, but now that victory is under assault by Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Rep. Ed Holt of New Jersey.

The pair filed legislation to repeal revenue sharing even as the Republican chair of the House Natural Resources Committee announced plans to expand it. The attack by Reps. Markey and Holt is disingenuous and infuriating. Rep. Markey, the committee’s ranking Democrat, argued that revenue sharing is “oil-well welfare” for a few states “that drains our U.S. Treasury and chooses the interest of a few over those of all Americans.”

That’s simply not true. Louisiana and other coastal states will get 37.5 percent of new drilling, but not until 2017 — 11 years after the legislation was adopted. That’s not a drain, and if it’s welfare, what does Rep. Markey think about the 90 percent of revenues that inland states derive from energy production on federal lands within their borders?

An excellent point on the 90 percent, though the Picayune’s question is one I’d bet Markey would gladly answer by saying that’s welfare, too. Of course, he doesn’t have the stones to grasp at the inland royalties, because if he did he’d be rifling through the drawers of blue states like Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia or others out West where coal or natural gas deposits on federal lands pump revenues into state and federal coffers.

Markey doesn’t have many stones at all, frankly. A year ago he was in a position to actually pass his astonishingly grasping bill, though had he done so he’d likely have wiped out even more energy-state Democrats than already perished last fall. He didn’t concoct his current gambit until now, when Doc Hastings chairs that committee and the combed-over Markey has little power to do anything other than grasp at favorable notices from his little friends at the Huffington Post and Democratic Underground.

Which indicates that we – and the Picayune – are probably giving this addled neo-Communist blowhard more attention than he’s worth. But when he comes after the source of funds Louisiana intends to use to rebuild our coastline, so that Belle Chasse and Thibodaux aren’t beachfront property, it’s something of a sore subject in these parts. After all, considering that in Ed Markey’s Massachusetts they’re so unserious about energy production that rich liberals on Cape Cod won’t even allow wind turbines offshore because they’ll spoil the view it’s particularly offensive to see him grabbing at oil revenues he’s spent most of his congressional career trying to shut down in the first place.

And that’s where the Picayune goes off the rails and spoils a shot at a spot-on editorial…

Rep. Holt argued that offshore oilfields “do not belong to any one governor or state legislature and should not be used to pad any favored state’s budget.” But he conveniently ignores the impact energy production has on coastal states. The entire country benefits from the oil and gas produced off our shores, but other states don’t share in the burden, which has been especially heavy for Louisiana.

Canals cut through our wetlands for oil and gas exploration are one of the causes of erosion that claimed 1,900 square miles from 1932 to 2000 — 40 times the land area of Boston.

Voting against revenue sharing is a vote against the environment, as Rep. Jeff Landry of New Iberia pointed out, since the money will be used for coastal restoration. That makes this effort all the more reprehensible. They both should be ashamed, but especially Rep. Markey who showed strong advocacy for the Gulf Coast during the BP oil spill.

Rep. Doc Hastings, the committee’s chairman, pointed out their intellectual dishonesty, noting that the clamor is coming from drilling opponents. “This is quite a contorted argument to make — that revenue sharing unfairly gives away federal revenues, when if they had their way, we wouldn’t be collecting revenue from offshore drilling in the first place,” he said.

Sen. Mary Landrieu urged Rep. Markey to “join coastal senators in fighting for the dignity and respect coastal states deserve and to make sure these and other states get treated fairly as this production is increased.”

So close, and yet so far.

Markey didn’t fight for the Gulf Coast last year at all. What Markey did was grandstand and act like a jackass, in an effort to punish the entire oil industry for the sins of one company acting well below prevailing safety standards. And in doing so he lent cover to the Obama administration for its destructive moratorium on offshore drilling, which has put tens of thousands of Louisianans out of work.

This guy has shown himself to be an enemy of Louisiana in the House of Representatives. He doesn’t give a damn about us, and he’s proven it this week along with his little imp Rush Holt. The Picayune is right to blast him for it and to suggest he ought to be ashamed of himself, but giving him a pass on former behavior constitutes a swing and a miss.

It would have been an improvement if the piece had said Markey’s current gambit calls into question the motivation for his “advocacy” for the Gulf Coast last year and openly wondered whether he cares about our environment at all or if he just wants to ruin the oil industry.

Because that’s what the man is after. He’s the Markey of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade bill, after all.

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