In the 2020 election, Louisiana voters rewarded former President Donald Trump with a massive victory as he carried the state by a 59%-40% margin. While Joe Biden did win the election, his message was not well received by Louisiana voters.
As a presidential candidate, Biden adopted a platform that was hostile to the economic interests of Louisiana, especially in regard to the oil and gas industry, a major employer. Biden made it clear that he wanted to move away from fossil fuels and embrace “green” energy that would be more beneficial to the climate.
In contrast, Trump was supported by Louisiana voters for a variety of reasons. Clearly, they approved of his performance on major issues such as growing the economy, rebuilding the military, and securing the border. In addition, under Trump, our country was energy independent for the first time in decades. During his term, he exhibited strong support for the oil and gas industry, which is incredibly important to Louisiana’s economy.
Unfortunately, for Louisiana, Trump did not win reelection and the new Biden administration is pursuing policies that are very hostile to the economic interests of the state. Louisiana is already suffering under COVID-19 restrictions as the tourism and hospitality industry has been devastated. Now, another major pillar of our economy, the oil and gas industry, will face an unprecedented challenge.
Even though he has only been president a few weeks, Biden is moving at a dizzying pace. He has issued more executive orders and actions during his first few weeks than the last several presidential administrations combined. Many of these directives deal with the new administration’s commitment to put climate change initiatives at the forefront of their agenda.
The United States has now rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, which calls for nations to be “carbon neutral” by 2050. While pursuing “green” policies, the administration will destroy thousands of jobs in the oil and gas industry. In fact, it has already happened. On his first day in office, Biden stopped the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, displacing 1,000 workers from high-paying jobs.
He has also placed a moratorium on new drilling leases for oil and gas production on federal land or waters. This will not only destroy jobs, but it will also limit the royalties Louisiana receives from offshore production, which are used for critical coastal restoration projects.
Biden justified his decisions limiting oil and gas production as being good for the health of Louisiana residents. He said he was concerned about “cancer alley” in Louisiana, which some experts have attributed to the industrial pollution along the corridor between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Much of this production is related to the state’s oil and gas industry.
Sen. Bill Cassidy said that Biden’s comments were a “slam on Louisiana.” The Louisiana Chemical Association claims that the state’s tumor registry does not indicate a “cluster of cancer in the area between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.”
It remains to be seen whether Biden’s decisions will improve the health of the people of Louisiana. However, there is no doubt that people who are employed with good wages are healthier than those folks who are unemployed.
Various Biden administration officials have made vague promises of jobs in the future making solar panels or contributing to the new “green” economy, but nothing tangible. Future promises are cold comfort to workers displaced from high-paying jobs by these executive actions.
As the new president moves away from fossil fuel production and toward “green” and electric energy, American motorists are seeing their costs increase with higher gasoline prices.
With gasoline prices increasing, jobs decreasing and the state's revenue dropping significantly, the new administration is having a rapid and detrimental impact on Louisiana. At this point, it seems obvious that the voters of Louisiana made a wise decision in the 2020 presidential election. Unfortunately, not enough voters in the rest of the country showed similar good judgment.
The next four years will be extremely difficult for the people of Louisiana and any other state that is connected to the oil and gas industry.
Jeff Crouere is a political commentator on radio and television in New Orleans.