There probably is not that much attention being paid to the very long and liberal platform of the Democratic Party, but at least one plank would be seriously damaging to our state’s economy: “We support banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters, modifying royalties to account for climate costs, and establishing targeted programs to enhance reforestation and develop renewables on federal lands and waters.”
It's a ban on oil and gas production, and that is wrong for Louisiana, the nation and the world.
Defenders of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who if nothing else is a practical politician, have noted on the national scene that he has called this a moratorium, not necessarily a ban — and the platform is widely recognized as a way to mollify the more liberal supporters of Bernie Sanders, who finished second in the primaries.
Still, the word “moratorium” is a dirty enough word for Louisiana’s oil patch.
In the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill, a temporary shutdown of drilling was ordered by the Obama administration (Joe Biden, vice president) with bad effects on many families in our state who earn good livings in energy production. Obviously, President Barack Obama had to do something in the wake of the spill, but that reaction is still remembered here.
We do not disagree with anyone who embraces an “all of the above” energy strategy, one that — as the above excerpt from the very long platform suggests — pushes development of renewable energy as well as safe production of fossil fuels. But a ban on federal lands? It doesn’t make sense.
Play down that platform language as Democrats might, it’s not in the interests of Louisiana. Thousands of families — although fewer, unfortunately, in the past few years — make livings in oil and gas production. It is a fundamental fact of the state’s economy.
It is also vital to the growth of the world economy when we emerge from the drastic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Offshore drilling is all federally permitted.
Even an outright ban would not end oil and gas drilling immediately, as offshore “plays” are decades-long and require multibillion-dollar investments by oil companies. But the hostility to fossil fuels on the political left is extreme.
Ever practical, Biden politically seeks to emphasize creating new jobs in renewable energy production. We’re not opposed, but finding the number of high-paying positions available in oil and gas from the renewable sector is not very likely.
Nor does it say much good that one of America’s great political parties cannot read the figures showing oil and gas remains central to the economies of our nation and the entire world.