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Congressman Garret Graves

Representing the 6th District of Louisiana

Energy

As a leader in energy production, Louisiana literally powers the nation and provides almost one-third of the oil and gas consumed in America.

But policies out of the White House are putting our energy workers and America's energy industry at a competitive disadvantage - compounding the historic slump in this critical sector of the economy that has already seen more than 15,000 Louisiana energy jobs lost lost in the last 15 months. Foreign policy decisions that tie American workers' hands and favor energy production and job creation in countries that do not share our values, predatory regulations that deter exploration and production and punitive taxes that put a unilateral premium on American energy in the global marketplace are a threat to our nation's long-term energy security. 

We are leveraging every tool we have to stop the Administration's ability to implement the full force of these harmful policies and will keep working to restore our ability to continue safely producing energy in Louisiana and nationwide. Email me today to share your thoughts about federal energy policy. 

How Current Federal Energy Policy Hurts Louisiana | An Op-Ed by Garret Graves 

George Orwell famously critiqued how politicians use language “to make lies sound truthful” and “to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” The Obama Administration’s claimed support of an “all of the above” energy strategy is as Orwellian as it is disingenuous. In its description of the strategy, the White House cites economic growth, job creation and energy security as pillars of the president’s plan, but the 11,700 energy workers in Louisiana who have lost their job in the last 12 months know that the facts tell a different story. A sample of the Administration’s recent initiatives demonstrates how current federal energy policies compound the historic slump in our energy economy.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) intends to move forward with its proposed well control rule despite repeated efforts by industry, advocacy groups and Members of Congress to initiate a rewriting of the regulation to better incorporate technical expertise associated with offshore energy operations.   As I first noted in last quarter’s report, the rule is a response to the 2011 Deepwater Horizon (DH) disaster, but it is largely a solution in search of a problem. The new regulations carries a stated goal of ensuring safe operations in the Gulf of Mexico – an objective I fully support – but the way it was produced ignores the root causes of DH, the track record of safety in the Gulf of Mexico and regulatory advancements since 2010. It is another example of how uninformed bureaucrats attempt to write highly-technical rules and entirely miss the mark on how the real world works.  Government and private estimates put compliance between $880 million and $95 billion – a drastic range that underscores the widespread uncertainty about the rule’s implications.  The total cost may be open to debate, but a de facto drilling moratorium in the Gulf and a devastating loss of future energy jobs are certain consequences. Implementing this misguided regulation will bring additional economic hardship and add insult to injury for the thousands of families impacted by the 2011 tragedy.

The White House also undermines our national energy security through its foreign policy. Consider this: Iran holds the world’s largest reserves of natural gas and the fourth largest oil reserve in the world. Because of last year’s agreement between the United States and Iran – which I opposed – Iran is ramping up production and export activities. Iran is already slowly increasing its market share and will become a considerable world trading partner at a time when oversupply continues to suppress prices in the global market. (Recall that the White House adamantly opposed lifting America’s self-imposed ban on crude oil exports before reluctantly capitulating during negotiations of the omnibus spending bill at the end 2015.) Why would our president champion a policy that encourages job growth in a country that doesn’t share American values while pursuing policies that discourage job growth here? I’ve been outspoken about my belief that we should not allow Iran – the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorist organizations – to cash in on this opportunity. 

Finally, the president’s budget proposal submitted to Congress earlier this year further exposes intent to discourage the growth of our energy sector. In addition to hundreds of millions of dollars in new industry taxes and compliance costs, the proposal included a new tax of $10.25 per barrel of oil produced in the U.S. Such a tax would fundamentally increase the cost of domestic production, translate to higher prices at the pump for consumers and erode America’s price competiveness in the global marketplace. No one buys Louisiana’s oil if the president’s tax makes it 30% more expensive than our competitors’.

When the impacts of these policies are in plain view, it’s easy to understand why people are frustrated with government. Energy is critical to our state’s economy and budget, but executive decisions out of Washington kill jobs, exacerbate the state budget crisis and jeopardize our otherwise promising future in exploration, production and exporting. Flawed federal energy policies multiply the economic consequences of depressed energy prices and ultimately translate to higher state taxes for you and me. I’d like the president to explain his “all of the above” energy strategy to the thousands of Louisiana families struggling to make ends meet.

The good news is that much can be done to prevent full implementation of many of these damaging policies – specifically with respect to ill-advised, unilateral regulations. We are vigilant and unified with other leaders in Congress in an unwavering commitment to push the White House to change course. Industry, policymakers and ordinary people must continue to engage and work together to ensure America’s long-term economic and energy security. Visit garretgraves.house.gov/issues/energy to learn more about our efforts on this front.

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More on Energy

May 9, 2018 In The News

Louisiana’s in the process of getting its first share of federal offshore oil revenue earmarked for Gulf states. It’s the first such revenue pot which amounts to $188 million to the four states. The state will get $82 million to the state, which has already been assigned to help rebuild coastal restoration projects.

April 26, 2018 Blog Post

WASHINGTON – Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) joined U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today to announce that the Department will disburse almost $188 million to the four Gulf oil and gas producing states – Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. This represents the first disbursement under Phase II of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA). The funds are derived from qualified oil and gas leasing revenues on the Outer Continental Shelf, and disbursed in accordance with the revenue-sharing provisions of the GOMESA legislation.

March 16, 2018 In The News

Louisianans hit by floods in 2016 will want to dust off their old tax returns from that year to tap new deductions and cash in on hundreds of millions of federal tax relief dollars for those who saw homes, cars and other property ruined by rising waters.

Two changes wrapped in December’s GOP-backed tax cuts will let those hit by that year’s devastating March and August floods write off far more of their losses on their returns — even if they didn’t itemize their deductions — and get refunds on penalties for tapping retirement savings to rebuild.

March 13, 2018 In The News

Elected officials from coastal states took disparate views over the Trump administration's proposal to open more than 90% of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to oil and natural gas exploration, which garnered more than 630,000 public comments.

March 10, 2018 In The News

WASHINGTON — Vast swaths of the Gulf of Mexico will go on the auction block for offshore oil and gas drilling in less than two weeks. But the 77-million-acre sale, billed as the largest in the country’s history, may not shake off the offshore oil industry's three-year slump.

February 17, 2018 In The News

When Bill Cassidy challenged longtime U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2014, one of her main arguments was that, despite her Democratic affiliation, she was the one who had a record of looking out for Louisiana's interests in Washington.

Exhibit A was her authorship of the landmark Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, which sends a share of federal royalties from offshore drilling to Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

February 12, 2018 In The News

The White House's proposed budget takes the ax to a wide range of domestic programs, but unlike in past years, federal oil money that funds Louisiana's coastal restoration efforts isn't on the chopping block.

Both President Donald Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, proposed tearing up an agreement that sends a share of federal royalties from offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico with the coastal states of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

February 9, 2018 In The News

BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to protect Louisiana's coastline, state Attorney General Jeff Landry charged in a federal lawsuit filed Friday.

The suit claims the Corps' mismanagement of the Intracoastal Waterway, first authorized in the 1920s, has cost Louisiana thousands of acres of land. The state provided a servitude that limited the Corps to 300 feet of land use, to build and maintain the waterway. Under federal oversight, the channel has expanded up to 900 feet wide in certain locations, Landry said.

January 26, 2018 In The News

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has agreed to lop about three years off the permitting process for Louisiana's proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project.