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Governor Edwards Heads to US Capitol to Urge Lifting of Oil Drill Moratorium

Published: May. 13, 2021 at 5:26 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards was joined by Republican Senator Bill Cassidy on Capitol Hill today, pleading for a resumption of offshore oil leasing.

They said the Biden administration’s moratorium was hurting Louisiana’s coast and economy, through threatening funding to oil royalty programs like Gomesa.

It has been nearly 4 months since president Joe Biden signed an executive order placing a moratorium on new leases for offshore oil drilling, as well as exploration on federal lands, and Governor John Bell Edwards says the pain for Louisiana continues

“An abrupt halt or prolonged pause to the federal offshore gas production would be devastating to our economy and leave many of the offshore impacts of oil and gas development unaddressed,” said Edwards.

Edwards testified on Capitol Hill before the Senate energy committee. He said the moratorium will cost Louisiana hundreds of high-paying jobs, as well as a major source of funding for its fight to save the coast, through funding mechanisms like go mesa

“Every dollar we get goes to coastal restoration we need work worth $350, billion over 50 years and this is the only guaranteed source of revenue,” said Edwards.

Bipartisanship is rare on Capitol Hill but Edwards was joined by a Republican senator stating his case for a moratorium lift, and the jobs it could produce.

“$100,000 for a guy with a high school education, who is hard-working, who sends his kids to a better school for a better future. Why we need more of those jobs,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La).

While the Senate considers new energy regulations, it’s clear that the Deepwater Horizon tragedy is still fresh.

“What kind of technology has been improved?” asked Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA). “We have written over 200 new standards to improve how we do our different processes,” said Russell Holmes, with the center for Offshore Safety.

Edwards says the oil and gas industry can responsibly help America move toward a new energy future.

“We want the resumption as soon as possible so the worst impacts don’t happen,” said Edwards.

But at this point, the Biden administration has not indicated when it might lift the moratorium.

Governor Edwards was joined by Mid-Continent Oil and Gas, a major oil lobbying group, which issued a statement pushing for a lifting of the moratorium. Governor Edwards today also asked senators for a larger share of offshore drilling royalties. He says Louisiana only gets a fraction of what other states bring in.

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