There is a reason why folks from energy-rich states across the country have been concerned about Rhea Suh becoming the Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the U.S. Department of Interior. In this powerful post, she would oversee policies that have the potential to harm energy production and private landowners within Louisiana.
The Wall Street Journal points out in her previous role as program manager at David and Lucile Packard Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, she called natural gas production the “single greatest threat” to our environment.
It’s not surprising that she is President Obama’s top pick, whose Administration is no friend to the drilling community. Under Obama’s watch, natural gas production decreased last year by 13 percent in the Gulf of Mexico and 9 percent on other federal lands. But studies show overwhelming support for greater natural gas production. An LSU study shows an estimated $47 billion in capital expenditure investment will be allocated to new and existing energy infrastructure projects in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jefferson Davis Parishes. This could bring $9.3 billion in additional wages for Louisiana workers.
In February, I led an effort with a majority of my fellow colleagues in the Louisiana Delegation to write a letter to Sens. Vitter and Landrieu outlining concerns over her nomination. Sen. Vitter responded expressing his opposition to the nomination. Sen. Landrieu dodged the question and failed to address her position. This week, Reps. Scalise, Boustany, McAllister, Flemming and myself sent a follow-up letter to Sen. Landrieu, asking a second time for her to oppose Suh’s nomination.
In her first major act as Chair, Sen. Landrieu proved herself to be an indispensable ally to President Obama and cast her vote in support of Suh.
I am disappointed Sen. Landrieu, as Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, voted for someone who publicly admitted to working against Louisiana oil and gas jobs. Setting the standard for the Energy and Natural Resources Committee moving forward, it is unfortunate Sen. Landrieu is putting politics over policy and disregarding Americans’ best interests. Its toxic to oil and gas interests, and bad for Louisiana.
-Dr. Bill Cassidy
Representative of Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District