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Statement from LABI President and CEO Stephen Waguespack on the Biden Administration’s Executive Actions on Energy


January 27, 2021

Today, President Joe Biden will announce a moratorium on all new oil and gas drilling leases on federal lands and in the federal waters. LABI President and CEO Stephen Waguespack released the following statement in response:
 
“President Biden’s moratorium on new federal land and water energy leases is a tremendous blow to hard working families and businesses in energy producing states like Louisiana and the American economy as a whole. This action will hurt investment in the Gulf of Mexico, where over 90 percent of Louisiana’s annual production activity is generated, and threaten good-paying jobs from an industry that accounts for almost 30 percent of our state’s GDP. Nearly 250,000 Louisianans are currently either directly or indirectly employed by oil and gas. These workers do so proudly, efficiently and safely. Thanks to their efforts, hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested into the state’s budget and coastal restoration efforts over the years, with much more funding going directly to the U.S Treasury. At a time when the federal government is borrowing and spending at an all-time high, writing off the billions of dollars the nation receives each year from energy production on federal lands seems especially misguided and ill-timed.
 
The businesses hurt most by this action are not the larger entities that can likely rotate investments to other countries, but rather, the homegrown Louisiana entrepreneurs who have built their companies, restaurants and stores over the years from scratch to service our energy producers in communities all across our coast. These small businesses make up the heart of our state's service-based economy, an army of employers we cannot afford to lose.
 
While this order was issued under the guise of improving the environment, it will actually make circumstances worse because this order does nothing to curtail the world’s energy consumption needs. America’s demand will rise significantly as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing us to import more resources from unfriendly countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran with weaker environmental safeguards. We will never improve environmental protection by removing American ingenuity from energy production. A better approach is to embrace the American energy sector, partner with them to become more efficient and innovative each year and help reduce the need for foreign sources of energy. This would not only help improve our environment, but also help rebuild our economy and hopefully regain the more than 7,000 Louisiana oil and gas jobs lost since the pandemic began." 

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For press inquiries, contact:

Mitch Rabalais
Communications Manager
(985) 317-8509
mitchr@labi.org

About the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry was organized in 1975 to represent Louisiana businesses, serving as both the state chamber of commerce and state manufacturers association. LABI’s primary goal is to foster a climate for economic growth by championing the principles of the free enterprise system and representing the general interest of the business community through active involvement in the political, legislative, judicial and regulatory processes. Find out more information at www.labi.org.