In the present search for sources of coastal restoration funding, the oil companies have been targeted for their contribution to coastal erosion in Louisiana’s wetlands.

It has been stated that 10,000 miles of canals have been dug for exploration and production in Louisiana’s coastal marshes. The present lawsuits against the oil companies have garnered different responses from the population of Louisiana.

One position is that the oil companies should be responsible for providing compensation to fund coastal restoration. On the other hand, others say the oil companies are the life blood of the area, and we should not “bite the hand that feeds us.” What is in the minds of the businesses that oppose the lawsuits is that oil companies will leave the parishes that proceed with lawsuits so jobs will be lost and the public will suffer.

Being a former oil-field business owner, I ask, what did “the hand that fed me”expect from me? Was I being paid simply because the oil company liked me? Was it because I was providing a service that the oil company depended on in order to show a profit? Was it to please shareholders who supplied the capital to produce a commodity? Years ago, when I was asked to put soap on an oil spill or burn an oil pit after dark, was it because the “hand that fed me” respected me?

The politicians say they want to come up with a solution that will be fair. It has been said that our country is in the hands of the lobbyists, not those elected by the populous. The current Louisiana governor has made his agenda clear. A state controlled by lobbyists has drifted away from the original intent of democracy. Changes have to be made, or we will continue to feed “the hand that fed us.” Faith in the system and in that hand will surely not save this country and state.

Kenneth Ragas

retired

New Orleans