If the derricks and the smokestacks didn’t let you know already, Louisiana is an oil and gas state.

And that’s a good thing, not only for the nation and its energy needs but also for the families whose breadwinners work in the industry.

According to economist Loren Scott, who frequently consults for the energy companies, Louisiana’s oil and gas industries support more than 300,000 jobs and generate more than $16 billion in annual household earnings in the state.

Scott produced his report for Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, which obviously was seeking to promote the benefits of energy production and petrochemical manufacturing in our state.

The fact is that energy is a very big deal economically in Louisiana.

While we have gone through some tough battles over the environmental impact of oil and gas extraction in past years, improved regulation has helped to strike more of a balance between the benefits and costs of the energy industry.

America’s thirst for hydrocarbon energy is not going away anytime soon. Louisiana certainly benefits from the industry; in the eyes of some, it does not pay enough in taxes and gets tax breaks that ordinary businesses can only dream of. But significant levels of good jobs, at relatively high wage rates, are indeed part of our state’s energy portfolio, and should be celebrated.