Energy security is paramount to America’s economic health and to our national security. If the U.S. is to become more energy independent and more energy secure, we must aggressively develop our domestic resources, including oil, gas nuclear, and coal. However, we must also invest heavily in new technologies, alternative fuels, and in efficiency measures at the same time.
Returning our Gulf to work
Following the Deepwater Horizon Spill, the issuance of permits for new offshore drilling has been painfully slow, and continues to lag behind pre-spill levels. Senator Landrieu is a strong proponent of increasing domestic energy production and is working to reverse this trend. The Senator has pushed for a more efficient permitting process; an essential step in allowing companies to return to their pre-spill levels of productivity. Senator Landrieu strongly opposed the 6-month moratorium on deepwater drilling and defacto moratorium on shallowwater drilling imposed April 2010. She successfully fought for it to be lifted two months early.
She continues to fight for a clear, understandable set of regulations which will clear the current backlog of drilling permits and allow responsible operators to begin new exploration. This will put protect thousands of jobs in our state which depend on the offshore oil and gas industry, and will help to ensure the energy security of our nation.
This return to productivity is vital not only for the future energy security of our nation, but also for the more than 300,000 Louisianians employed, directly and indirectly, by the oil and gas industry. In December of 2011, the Senator successfully blocked legislative language in the bill funding the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) that would have further slowed the permitting process, and has made clear her expectation that the prompt consideration of permits should be among the agency’s key priorities. Read more.
A Fair Share for Louisiana
Louisiana is a recognized leader in domestic oil and gas production. The Gulf Coast produces more than a quarter of the Nation’s domestic oil and natural gas. Seventy six percent of America’s offshore energy production takes place directly off of Louisiana’s coast. For more than 50 years, oil companies produced that oil and gas and sent billions of dollars in royalties to the Federal government—but none to Louisiana, even though our coastal marshlands bore the brunt of the impacts. Thanks to Senator Landrieu’s leadership, Louisiana will receive a fair share of the revenues derived from these precious mineral resources.
In 2006 Senator Landrieu worked with then-Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, R-N.M., to pass the Domenici-Landrieu Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). For the first time, this law secured a fair share of offshore oil and gas revenues for Louisiana. This independent revenue stream is expected to provide Louisiana billions of additional dollars in coming decades for flood protection and coastal restoration projects. Phase one of GOMESA brought more than $6 million into Louisiana for 2009 alone. Phase two will bring in ever increasing amounts beginning in 2017. It also provides significant funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which funds the creation of parks and outdoor recreation areas across the country.
The Domenici-Landrieu Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act will serve as a template for similar measures around the country – and that will enhance U.S. energy security. Senator Landrieu believes that a system that shares the benefits of offshore drilling with the coastal states will foster more domestic energy production while helping to restore coastal areas around the country.
In 2009, Senator Landrieu started the Senate Natural Gas Caucus with Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-GA. This bipartisan group of Senators works to better understand the role of natural gas in producing clean, affordable and secure American energy.
Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel and is a plentiful resource in the United States. Louisiana is home to the Haynesville Shale, a massive deposit that industry experts estimate contains between 7.5 trillion and 20 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The Haynesville Shale has played a key role in the rapid expansion of natural gas production in the United States, an expansion that could see the U.S. potentially become a net exporter of natural gas.
Senator Landrieu recognizes that an increase in natural gas production will benefit the economy. The natural gas industry currently directly employs 1.3 million people; more than the coal, wind, solar, or nuclear industries. The United States used $154 billion worth of natural gas in 2010 and increased domestic production will allow American companies to harness this demand to create even more jobs, benefitting our state and national economy. Senator Landrieu knows that when we produce oil and natural gas in America, we produce jobs in America.