Jindal Invites Energy Bill Conferees to See Louisiana Coastal Erosion Firsthand
Washington, Jul 19 - Congressman Bobby Jindal (LA-01) sent the following letter to the 67 members of the Conference Committee ironing out the final version of H.R 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, inviting them to personally tour the areas of Louisiana being lost to coastal erosion. The House version of the bill includes a provision Congressman Jindal added, which would allow the state to share in the revenues generated by drilling off the coast of Louisiana. The provision would bring more than a billion dollars a year to Louisiana for coastal restoration.
I commend you on your dedication and commitment to protecting and enhancing America's energy resources. We sit at a vulnerable crossroads, as world and U.S. demands for energy are increasing and we find ourselves relying more and more on energy sources outside our country's direct control. It is incumbent upon us to provide a strategic direction to our nation's energy policy. Both the House and the Senate have demonstrated their commitment to that effort in their passage of H.R. 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Your seat on the conference committee for that bill places a lot of responsibility in your hands.
As you discuss the energy bill and the manners in which we, as a nation, can address our energy needs in the present and for the future, I am sure continued emphasis will be put on conservation and development of alternative sources. However, no realistic plan can address our energy needs without also looking to increase domestic production of traditional energy, specifically both oil and gas. Louisiana has long played a role in that production, a role we have accepted with great pride and honor. We have embraced the opportunity our vast energy reserves present for us. As much as 30% of our nation's energy supply lies off Louisiana's coast in the Gulf of Mexico. Even as many states have prevented off-shore drilling, and most that allow it are looking to limit its growth, Louisiana has expressed interest in increasing production. We stand ready, willing and able to provide for our nation.
Unfortunately, however, that production doesn't come without a cost and, in Louisiana, the cost is our coast. As by now I am sure you are aware, Louisiana loses land to the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of a football field every 30 minutes. In just the last 50 years Louisiana has lost 1,500 square miles of coastline - an amount equal to the size of Rhode Island - and the processes that have washed away our land are continuing on their destructive course. The lands being affected are the very lands that play a major part in the processing and distribution of the energy resources in the gulf. It is no exaggeration to say that, if we continue to lose our coastline, we will lose access to much of the energy on which we have come to rely.
For the first time, the national energy bill that has come before you contains a provision that will help to drastically reduce the damage to our coast. The House version of the energy bill includes a provision that will allow Louisiana to share in the royalties generated off our coast, providing valuable money that will be used to reverse the trends of coastal erosion and begin to restore the lands of Louisiana.
I would like to extend an offer to you, as you work on the final language of the bill, to come down to Louisiana and see firsthand the devastating effect of coastal erosion. I invite you all to fly over the effected areas with me in order to see the submerged foundations of houses that used to be on solid ground, the water lapping at roads that used to be protected, and the graves that now rest under water. Firsthand you will be able to see the impact and I am confident that, once you have seen it, you will recognize the need for Louisiana to keep a portion of the money from drilling - to finally protect our coast.
I thank you again for your commitment to our energy needs and look forward to working with you to protect them.
Very Truly Yours,
Member of Congress