St. Charles Herald-Guide

OUR VIEW

Our View - October 25, 2006

This week’s settlement between the state and federal government on offshore mineral lease sales brings Louisiana closer to the possibility of getting more offshore oil revenue.

The settlement stops all such sales until the feds can assess the damage done to our coast from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Hopefully they will see that providing Louisiana more of the royalties from those sales will help us repair our wetlands.

Production of offshore oil has been partly to blame for the damage done to our wetlands by those two storms. Canals were dug in the past to get boats and equipment out there.

This brought salt water tides inland which killed the vegetation that was keeping our wetlands stable. And then the normal tides washed away the land at a rate of up to 50 square miles a year.

No wonder Katrina and Rita washed away another 250 square miles. There was little resistance to the storms coming inland to populated areas.

The settlement is a small first step. But it is important in getting the attention we need to the powers that be.

One small step at a time may be necessary to make Louisiana whole again. And then our state’s valuable fishing and petroleum industries can continue to live side by side in harmony.