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Graves and Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson Make it Clear Moratoriums Inflict Permanent Damage

April 16, 2021
Press Release
Graves and Chaisson also discuss GOMESA’s role in hurricane and flood protection

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) brought Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson to the U.S. House Natural Resources Republican Forum: Where are the Jobs?”. The forum provided an opportunity to highlight the Administration’s recent executive orders and their impact on the energy sector, local businesses, restaurants and more – all interwoven parts of Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District. Graves and Chaisson highlighted the role offshore energy production has in protecting Louisiana’s coastal communities through hurricane and flood protection.

To view Graves and Chaisson’s opening remarks, click here or read key excerpts below:

Key Excerpts from Graves’ Opening Remarks Regarding Chaisson’s Leadership:

“He managed five named storms that came through and impacted the parish.”

“This parish that he represents is home to Port Fourchon, which services 90 percent of the offshore energy production. The state of Louisiana being one of six offshore energy producing states, produces more offshore energy than the other five states combined – times four.”

“I can’t say it enough – he represents ground zero for flawed energy policies and is a great advocate for the men and women of South Louisiana.”

Key Excerpts from Chaisson’s Opening Remarks:

“I appreciate the opportunity to be here today speaking on behalf of the 100,000 residents of Lafourche parish, a majority of which wake up every day and put on their boots and their hard hats and go to work in the oil and gas industry. I want to start by saying that I do not think that anyone in the room would argue that climate change is something that is not real, but I passionately believe that the energy industry and the environment can exist together and flourish. We have proven that time and time again here in Louisiana and especially here in Lafourche Parish. 

“For those of you that do not know, Lafourche is the home of Port Fourchon, the nation’s premier Energy Port that services 90 percent of the deep-water oil and gas activity in the Gulf of Mexico. That means that everything that goes out to a platform: mud, water, food, and other essential mechanical items, comes through Lafourche Parish and Port Fourchon. This port represents $458 million in household earnings to the Houma metropolitan service area, $243 million in household earnings to the state and $1.1 billion in household earnings to the U.S. economy.

That is why things like lease sales and new start permits are so important. Because we are not just talking about little old Lafourche Parish; these policies have an impact on every American.

“Of course, revenue loss is one of our concerns and I will talk about that in a second, but it is taking care of our residents and our businesses that’s my current focus because without them the revenue goes anyway. Just to give you a glimpse as to what this industry means here to the Bayou Region, we have 8,015 jobs tied strictly to Port Fourchon with another 10,000 or so tied to the oil and gas industry, mostly through service companies and offshore marine operators. For every one job lost, there are three others lost in our region. On a state level that number is much worse. For every one job lost there are five others lost somewhere in the economy.

“It is the threat on these families and thousands more like them that have kept me up at night the last few months since President Biden set this wave into motion. Any job lost due to these orders in unacceptable.

“Now let’s talk about the revenue piece. We have spent some time mining through the data, and we have come up with an initial figure of a 15 percent revenue reduction a year should permits not be approved and should no new lease sales occur. That 15 percent equates to about a $15 million impact to just parish government. That figure is not inclusive of the coastal revenue from GOMESA of which the State of Louisiana just received their $87.9 million check. In Louisiana, our GOMESA revenue in plugged into the State’s Coastal Master Plan which is a science based 50-year $50 billion plan to save our coast and provide critical flood protection to our residents.

“Again, that 15 percent revenue reduction, is not inclusive of impacts to our schools, law enforcement, fire service or emergency medical services. That number is extrapolated over and over again as it spreads to other parishes much less that state and national GDPs. We calculated that number by looking at the number of offshore vessels that might leave for other ports and the number of direct jobs that would be impacted.

The second part of that number is the scariest part and that is the trickledown economics that happen because of this. It is the impact to the suppliers, our hardware stores, our gas stations that are all going to lose business and shed employees should lease sales and new permits are not allowed to happen.

“Finally, Ranking Member Westerman, it’s the hypocrisy of all this is what stings the most. As the Biden Administration moves to renewables, they are asking us to pretend that oil and gas just does not exist. In reality, those lithium batteries that power their electric cars come from mines in Mexico that are powered by generators fed with natural gas.

“The wind farms that dot the east coast and other parts of our country need to be lubricated and you cannot do that with sunflower seed oil, you need a petroleum product. And lastly, the lift boats that came from Cut Off, Louisiana, to help erect those windmills did not get up there on by themselves.

“They were propelled with diesel engines.

“Again, I appreciate the opportunity to be here today and for everyone’s support for the continued momentum to keep the energy sectors and the environment moving forward together.

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To view Graves’ and Chaisson’s question and answer period, click here or read key excerpts below:

GRAVES:

It’s so important we get this perspective from the ground to understand the real implications of these crazy energy and climate policies that are being offered by this Administration.”

“We had five-named hurricanes in 2020. There is a relationship between offshore energy production and revenues that Parish President Chaisson is able to use. So I just wanted to see if he could discuss a little bit the impacts of reduced domestic energy production.”

President Chaisson, could you talk a bit about some of the implications on your ability to protect your citizens if we continue moving down this path of the Biden energy strategy?

CHAISSON:

In Louisiana as a whole, we use GOMESA money for hurricane protection and flood protection.

“So, when we talk about GOMESA, we spend a tremendous amount of money – we have been taxing ourselves locally since the late 1980s – to build hurricane protection and flood protection here in Lafourche Parish. So having a dedicated resource from the federal government that we can partner with our local tax dollars, whether it comes from the Coastal Protection Restoration Authority inside the state of Louisiana, or whether it comes from our locals having those matching dollars we can use – it’s critical.

“When we look at some areas of the south Lafourche community, the land elevation on the inside of our community is about a zero to a minus-one sea level. The water on the outside of our hurricane protection system in some cases is a plus-6 or plus-7. So, without those hurricane protection systems and pump systems, we’d have entire sects of our community inundated with flood waters and not have the ability to get to Port Fourchon.

“And while we talk about the economic impact of the Port, there is a little thing called Louisiana Highway 1 that gets us down there. There is about an eight-mile stretch that still is unelevated portion of the highway. We had to close that roadway during those five storms that Congressman Graves talked about. We had to close that road for 12 consecutive days. For every hour that road is closed, it’s a $22 million impact to the nation’s GDP.

Not to Lafourche, not to the state of Louisiana, to our nation.

“So that’s why things like GOMESA that helps fund this next project, building the last 8.7 miles of elevated roadway, are so important.”

 

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