“America’s Energy Coast”

NOLA is getting some needed publicity these days with the Lt. Governor’s Association meeting here.  At least one of these folk (Mary Fallin, OK) has been elected to the US House of Reps, and ideally the remainder have a big enough megaphone in their home states to share what they saw here with their constituents.  (You never know, MA has had a series of Lt. Governor’s step into the driving seat through several recent administrations – Swift, Cellucci, arguably even Healy as Romney tours around fluffing his McDreamy hair on the presidential campaign trail.)  As visitors have realized over and over again:

“Until you come here, first hand, and see the magnitude and how large the destruction was throughout the area and the number of people who lost their homes, lost their income, lost their places of work, the children who have no school to go to, the lack of hospital care and medical care, you don’t quite understand the daunting challenges the people of Louisiana face in trying to rebuild after a major catastrophe like this,” Fallin said.

Fallin said she hopes she can help others better comprehend the funding needs “and the importance of Louisiana getting back on its feet and being rebirthed.”  


And for those of you who care about oil and our nation’s dependence on the oh-so-slightly-less-stable regions of the world, Fallin and others recognized

…that Louisiana’s fate is linked to that of other states, a point reinforced by Peter “Pete” Kazunas, chief executive officer for the Coast Guardians, a collection of business executives in the New Orleans area seeking to rebuild and protect the wetlands to sustain the viability of what they call “America’s energy coast.”

The energy coast, which includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, has thousands of miles of pipelines and other infrastructure that fuels the nation with oil and gas, he said.

“It is the nation’s most important petrochemical complex,” Kazunas said, noting that the Gulf Coast provides 30 percent of domestic crude oil production, 34 percent of domestic natural gas production and 45 percent of the nation’s refining capacity.

“Wetlands protecting America’s energy coast and the vital energy-producing and transportation complex it houses are disappearing at an alarming rate, jeopardizing America’s economic and energy security,” said Kazunas, who praised the lieutenant governors for being aware of the economic connection between their states and Louisiana.

Outer Continental Shelf oil revenue sharing must be reconfigured, he said, to provide Gulf Coast producing states with a larger portion.

[Barbara] Lawton [of Wisconsin] said she and other lieutenant governors “are now armed with a very vivid and detailed narrative and a sense of responsibility to take that home, and to share it and to use our circle of influence and our positions to marshal support, because it has been made very clear to us, if we didn’t see it earlier, that ours is a shared destiny with the city of New Orleans.” (my emphasis)


This energy and wetlands business is the stuff that keeps my roommate up at night.  As for the rest of you, keep the Gulf in mind this holiday season and in the New Year!


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