Limiting Energy Development Threatens Gulf Coast Economy & Jobs

Jan 27, 2021

The Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST) and other local leaders warned that limiting oil and natural gas development on federal lands and waters would cost Gulf Coast jobs and harm local communities.

“Today’s announcement by the Biden administration limiting oil and natural gas leasing is not merely an assault on domestic oil and gas production and our country’s energy security, but a divisive act towards hundreds of thousands American men and women who proudly go to work each day to fuel this great nation,” said Lori LeBlanc, Executive Director of the Gulf Economic Survival Team.

“American families are the real victims of this short-sighted policy that jeopardizes their livelihoods, reduces critical revenues for local communities, and significantly impacts our national economy at a time when we all need jobs and economic recovery the most,” said LeBlanc. “Our national priority right now should be getting more Americans back to work, not putting thousands of good-paying American jobs that families depend on at risk.”

The Gulf of Mexico’s offshore oil and gas industry is an economic engine for our nation and for our coastal communities that depend on energy revenues to fund vital services like education, health care, police and fire protection, and highways and infrastructure. Revenues generated by offshore oil and gas production also fund critical coastal restoration projects that protect our environment, build our precious wetlands, and sustain our unique cultural heritage.

“If the Biden administration wants to have a meaningful impact on environmental protection, environmental justice and climate change, they should recognize the valuable jobs and economic stimulus created by the offshore oil and gas industry and allow for on-going offshore development while pursuing effective ways to address these important issues,” LeBlanc said.

Several other local leaders from the Gulf Coast region took the opportunity today to voice their perspective on how the administration’s actions could impact their local communities.

Chett Chiasson, Executive Director of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission:

“Port Fourchon in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana is the epicenter for American energy as it services nearly all of the Gulf of Mexico’s deepwater oil production and over 200 companies utilize our Port as a base for their operations. The President’s announcement of a federal permitting and leasing ban in the Gulf of Mexico will be the death knell of our community for years to come. Not only does it impact our local economy with loss of jobs and funding for schools, police, fire protection, drainage and more, but it eliminates a critical funding stream that helps us rebuild our coast, strengthen our flood protection, restore habitat, protect our ecosystem, and ultimately become more resilient and environmentally sustainable.”

Archie Chaisson, Lafourche Parish President:

“President Biden’s orders that halt any new drilling activity on federal lands, including the Gulf of Mexico, are devastating to our local economy. Beyond the effects to local government and essential service budgets here in Lafourche the trickledown effect to our local businesses is tremendous. Our local businesses support all of the service companies and major oil and gas companies operating out of Port Fourchon. If the drilling in the Gulf stops these businesses stop, which will be the final nail in the coffin for our economy.”

John McKay, President & CEO of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association:

“Manufacturers across Mississippi rely heavily on affordable commodities to compete in the global market. Decreasing access to domestic energy will drive up the cost of production, making items more expensive for consumers, and decrease our competitiveness with other countries that are not hindered by such burdensome regulations. Across the nation, families are struggling due to the global pandemic; this act just adds insult to injury. Instead of being an impediment to economic growth and global competitiveness, the Biden administration should look to enact policies that incentivize growth in the Mississippi and United States alike.”