As if the oil and gas industry was not buried under a pile of allegations, lawsuits, protests and low prices, another group has come forward to further stifle industry growth. A coalition of Democratic attorneys general from 16 states has announced a campaign to investigate the scientific research of energy companies regarding climate change. In a nutshell, this investigation will challenge the issue of free speech and scientific disagreement.
This group of attorneys general, along with former Vice President Al Gore, is challenging the scientific research of energy companies, specifically Exxon. According to the allegations, Exxon allegedly reached “definitive conclusions” about climate change. Simply put, if you disagree with Al Gore and the climate change coalition, they will launch an investigation. The bigger picture means more and more dollars spent by the oil and gas industry defending itself against yet another attack rather than investing those dollars into the operations that fuel the country.
In addition to this announcement regarding climate change, just last week a protest was held at the Gulf Lease Sale. The Louisiana Bucket Brigade, a group of environmentalists, gathered at the sale to protest further leasing in the Gulf of Mexico. Their call was to leave the resources in the ground and move toward renewables. Interesting enough, the group of protestors came in buses and other motor vehicles that each required oil and gas.
To add to the protest, General Honoré and the Green Army appeared before the Natural Resources Committee recently to protest oil and gas operations and make alleged complaints from an environmental standpoint. He has made a point to travel the entire state, bringing along a group of environmentalists with him, to protest the very existence of the industry. His group has led the charge against the new well that will be drilled in St. Tammany Parish. Unsuccessful in their protests, yet the Green Army still attempts to delay further job-creating operations in Louisiana.
As if all of the protests and campaigns against the industry are not enough, the State of Louisiana is requiring new financial securities on the small independent stripper producers in North Louisiana. These financial securities, along with new taxes regarding electricity use, are literally crippling the producers. These small independents are spending $10 to make $1. These producers in areas like Jena, Louisiana and Oil City, Louisiana have been producing oil for several decades. New rules and laws are making their operations too expensive to continue. Yet, shutting in the wells is not an option due to the costs mandated by the state for this process.
Let us not forget the recent filing of the Cameron Parish coastal lawsuits against around 200 Louisiana oil and gas defendants for alleged coastal damage. Millions of dollars will have to be spent defending these suits rather than investing in operations that provide jobs and millions of dollars for our state economy. Cameron Parish is the latest to file suit against the industry behind Plaquemines, Jefferson and potentially St. Bernard Parishes.
To wrap all of this chaos up into a terrible but realistic package, oil prices are $39 and natural gas prices are $1.90. So at a time when the industry is fighting the worst down turn in state history, more lawsuits, more campaigns and more protests against oil and gas are popping up daily. When is enough enough?