We happen to agree with most of the Republican criticisms of President Joe Biden’s new energy executive orders.
And while Biden is a Democrat, Louisiana’s Democratic chief executive is also in the critical camp.
Does everyone agree? No, but you would never know it from the one-sided dog-and-pony show put on by the Republican-led committees of the Louisiana Legislature on Wednesday.
It was kind of a full-house event for everybody with the same position: A couple of congressmen joined many legislators, mostly from south Louisiana, whether they were on Natural Resources panels or not.
Heavily promoted by business groups, officialdom of both parties were united in criticism of the Biden policies.
By sweeping executive orders, a process that Democrats often criticized when former President Donald Trump issued them, Biden proposes to suspend new offshore oil and gas production leasing while the administration determines whether eliminating new production is necessary to reduce carbon emissions contributing to global warming.
The new orders also reorganize decision-making by federal agencies regulating America’s huge energy industry. We believe that the process does not serve the nation’s energy independence nor the orderly and effective regulation of drilling, refining and petrochemical manufacturing.
Does anyone disagree? From the monochrome opinions of “witnesses” at the hearing, surely nobody.
Of course, anyone with a lick of sense knows that many people agree with Biden but the Legislature’s leadership doesn’t, so the taxpayers fund a pep rally for industry without a hint of intellectual honesty.
That party lines are increasingly dominant in Louisiana’s legislative halls is well-known. But if the GOP leadership wanted to catch out Gov. John Bel Edwards on these issues, his appointees deftly avoided criticism.
Edwards’ top aides joined in the anti-Biden chorus. Reducing offshore exploration and production on federal lands and in federal waters “will have a devastating impact on the state’s economy” without significantly reducing greenhouse emissions, said Thomas Harris, head of the Department of Natural Resources.
“It is a false choice,” said Matthew Block, the executive counsel for the Gulf Coast’s only Democratic governor.
For what it is worth, we believe the governor is right to speak up for one of Louisiana’s most important industries. Just as he carefully navigated the relationship with former President Trump over many issues, it’s important for the state that Louisiana has a positive relationship with the White House — even if disagreeing on energy policy.
But we wonder that a fact-finding hearing at which never was heard a discouraging word about oil and gas development really honestly reflects opinion, even here in Louisiana.