Thursday, August 14th, 2014
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
DID LOUISIANA MAKE A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL OVER OIL?
Do energy companies have a responsibility to mitigate the damage caused by their drilling for oil and gas in Louisiana? That’s the issue now being litigated in the controversial levee board lawsuits now in the courts.
Louisiana was seduced by an outside industry full of vast economic promises. The money came in easily and there can be no dispute that many new jobs were created. But when you put the financial tally to paper, has it been worth it?
A number of Louisiana politicians, including Governor Huey Long in the 1930s, and Plaquemines Parish dictator Leander Perez in the 1950s, made off like bandits by creating family controlled corporations and awarding themselves public oil leases that made them hundreds of millions of dollars. Oil company cash has flowed into state and local political campaigns for decades.
Perez was particularly aloof from the public interest when he used his political clout to blackmail then Governor Earl Long back in the late 1940s to reject a federal-state split of off shore oil. President Truman forged a compromise on the federal-state land dispute by offering Louisiana two thirds of all off shore oil out to a three mile boundary, then one third of all production from that point on out into the Gulf. Perez opposed the deal as his “vested interest” made him greedy, and Louisiana ended up receiving not one penny after a protracted battle all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. The failure to take this settlement has cost Louisiana, by several studies, more than $500 billion (that’s billon with a “B”) in lost revenue. Continue Reading……….