ZOLA: Isn’t It Time To Invest In Louisiana Energy?

Americans have seen – and felt – the price of gas increase to levels we haven’t experienced in years. And yet, with oil hovering at a near $110 per barrel, our state’s oil and natural gas industry has been burdened by an unfriendly federal government that has sought to keep our Louisiana natural resources hidden away under lock and key.

Whether it’s onshore or offshore in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), oil and gas activities in the state have been facing more headwinds than in years past. Decisions like restricting oil and gas production on federal lands or in the GOM and canceling permits for pipelines have created conditions making it difficult for our energy industry to operate in. And just this week, the Administration announced it would cancel a major oil and gas lease sale, once again highlighting the mixed messages and contradictory actions from Washington during the energy crisis.

As evident from the fallout proceeding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the embargo on Russian oil and natural gas, the lack of an American energy industry has created a vacuum in both domestic and global energy markets, further pointing to the fact that a new approach toward assuring American energy security is needed.

When America is responsibly utilizing its oil and natural gas resources to the fullest, not only do we find ourselves paying less at the gas pump, but our communities thriving, and our nation a safer place.

For a state like Louisiana that sees an economic impact of $73 billion from oil and gas activities, having a strong energy supply chain is not only crucial for our economy, but also for the families or communities that rely on this industry to sustain their current way of life.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen members of the Louisiana Congressional delegation including Senator Cassidy, Senator Kennedy and Representative Scalise, even our Governor and members of the state legislature push to get our states energy industry and the 250,000 people that it employs back on its feet.

Throughout this past year, oil and gas companies operating within our state have committed to investing in carbon capture and storage (CCS) to help lower carbon emissions. The $6 billion we’ve seen invested into this technology in Louisiana has gone as far as catching Governor Bel Edwards’s attention, having him state, “We’re a natural fit for it.”

It’s investments like these into CCS that complement our state’s existing oil and natural gas operations and allow us to reduce their environmental footprints.

For Louisiana to be able to propel our nation back toward energy security we need more than CCS. We need a partner in the federal government that is willing to work with us to help greenlight oil and gas activities along our coastline and in the GOM.

With projections showing that oil and natural gas will still be needed to make up 50% of our global energy demand needed into 2050, our nation needs to find ways to use all our resources at our disposal, including the GOM, one of our nation’s most prolific oil and gas reserves.

Blocking developments in the GOM not only hurt our nation’s overall energy production, but it also hinders our country’s conservation efforts as well. Many people don’t realize that oil and gas activities in the GOM have contributed over $300 million to coastal restoration through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act.

It’s evident that many of the natural resources, technologies, and innovative minds needed to help lower energy prices and balance out our nation’s environmental and climate goals can be found right here in Louisiana.

It’s beyond time to invest in Louisiana energy.

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