LACAG: The Louisiana Republican Green-Energy Sellout

Louisiana Act 443 is, sadly, now the law in Louisiana. Co-authored by Representatives Jerome Zeringue and Joseph Orgeron, the measure received final passage in the Republican dominated Louisiana Senate with little fanfare in a unanimous 33-0 vote. Repeat:  In a Republican dominated Senate.

There is no evidence that the lunacy of the law was seriously challenged during the legislative process. This fact, of course, does not make it any less monstrous. Act 443 is a massive green energy boondoggle and an imminent environmental and economic catastrophe for the state of Louisiana. In passing this legislation without asking and demanding answers to critical questions, the Louisiana Legislature committed legislative malpractice and profoundly betrayed the interests of Louisiana citizens. There should be outrage, and there should be a reckoning.

In promoting this law without challenging it in any meaningful way, Louisiana Republicans knelt in homage and kissed the posterior portion of Failed Green Energy. The 10 House Republicans who opposed the legislation should likewise be commended: Seabaugh, Amedee, Edmonston, Frieman, Garofalo, Geymann, Hodges, Mack, Chuck Owen and McCormick. Every Louisiana citizen should be proud of these Republican legislators for opposing Act 443.

The new law allocates for leasing to green energy companies up to 25,000 acres of Louisiana offshore water in the Gulf of Mexico in order to build wind turbines. The turbines are massive, each weighing up to two hundred tons with blades spanning hundreds of feet. Moreover, the 25,000-acre allocation is per lease, which means that the amount of Louisiana offshore real estate eventually occupied by wind energy turbines could be much more than 25,000 acres.

There is also the question of legislative oversight, and why there is none. The new law vests plenary authority in the State Mineral and Energy Board (SMEB) to “accept the bid it finds is most advantageous to the state and may lease upon whatever terms it considers proper.” The near complete absence of meaningful legislative oversight of SMEB is a recipe for precisely the type of graft and corruption for which Louisiana has been held in dubious distinction as long as we can remember. The law, not coincidentally, comes just in time for green energy vultures to descend upon Louisiana after receiving billions in federal taxpayer subsidies earmarked as part of President Biden’s Green New Deal legislative package, the same package that unleashes 87,000 new IRS agents on American citizens. (Will the green energy companies who will be lining their pockets in Louisiana with our money get audited by the IRS? Not a chance).

Apart from the great potential for corruption, it is apparent that neither Zeringue nor Orgeron nor any of the Republicans who passed this legislative scandal have actually studied the abysmal history of similar madcap efforts to supply the nation’s energy needs through the use of offshore wind turbines. If they had, they would know that offshore wind power is incapable of providing a significant percentage of a state’s energy needs in a consistent, cost effective and environmentally sustainable manner.

Several years ago, Rhode Island constructed and installed five wind turbines off the coast of Block Island at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. Block Island has been an embarrassing failure both in terms of the turbines’ structural durability and energy production. Block Island demonstrates that wind energy, even during periods of optimum output, and notwithstanding its enormous cost, lacks the sustained capacity to meet a significant portion of our energy needs. Despite the hundreds of billions of dollars that have already been invested in such green energy projects over several decades, solar and wind combined supply less than 7% of the nation’s electricity and cannot boast even that unless the turbines are working properly and the wind is relatively constant, neither of which is certain.

Germany is another epic illustration of the near total inadequacy of green wind energy. Despite investing staggering sums in the development of wind and solar energy sources over decades, Germany still relies for the vast majority of its energy on coal and natural gas. Germany’s effort to supplement its coal- based energy supply with wind energy has been a squanderous mess, a failure even Germany has now admitted, notwithstanding boasting some of the most brilliant scientists and engineers in the world.

Another inconvenient fact is that wind turbines lose operational efficiency every year and must be replaced, at a minimum, every 15 years. The recurrent cost in revenue and labor of periodically dismantling and replacing the turbines will be huge, not to mention the potentially devastating effect on the environment as well as the aesthetic eye-sore of having giant machines punctuating thousands upon thousands of acres of Louisiana offshore water. The new law hurts Louisiana citizens and does little more than enrich green energy investors and the politicians who prostitute for them. LACAG predicts that the lawmakers who promoted and voted for this law will disown it as soon as they feel the full measure of its folly, and the just wrath of Louisiana voters.

One politician who stands to benefit richly from the new law is one of its authors, Republican Rep. Joseph Orgeron. Orgeron is a managing member of 2nd Wind Marine, LLC. Two years ago, 2nd Wind was featured in the publication Offshore Engineer for building two industrial SuperFeeder vessels for the express purpose of “transporting next generation offshore wind turbines from the US Marshalling ports out to awaiting wind turbine installation vessels.” 2nd Wind is quoted in the article that the SuperFeeders would offer the “quickest, and a proven, path to US offshore wind development.”

One does not need 20/20 vision to discern Orgeron’s conflict of interest in authoring legislation from which his company stands to handsomely profit. There has been no public evidence that Orgeron disclosed this conflict of interest to his constituents or to his colleagues. Whether disclosed or not, Orgeron’s personal interest in the legislation is a textbook example of why Louisianans no longer trust their political leaders and view them largely as self-enriching opportunists consumed with personal ambition rather than with a desire to faithfully serve the people who elected them and to whom they are accountable.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not make known another fact that the new law’s proponents would rather nobody knew. Many of the rare earth elements that are needed to construct the turbines are harvested in China. A substantial majority of Louisianans do not believe that our State should become even more dependent on foreign powers for our energy needs, particularly a sworn adversary of the United States whose work force is comprised of children who are treated about as well by their government as members of a World War II labor camp. On this, as on every other vital question related to Act 443, Louisiana Republican Senators uttered nary a protest.

Every Louisiana citizen should remember the names Zeringue and Orgeron and the other Louisiana Republican legislators who failed to ask the fundamental questions that urgently needed to be asked before supporting this terribly misguided legislation. At the very top of the list should be Lafayette Republican Senate President Paige Cortez, who has done more to sabotage the conservative agenda in the Louisiana legislature than any Republican in fifty years. He should be permanently retired. And he should take Republican House Speaker Clay “Shakedown” Schexnayder with him, aptly so named by legendary Louisiana political raconteur Moon Griffon.

Christopher Alexander
Louisiana Citizen Advocacy Group
www.lacag.org

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