Gov. Kathleen Blanco is getting aggressive in her efforts to attract more federal government financial support in our efforts to rebound after Hurricane Katrina. Now she has threatened to block the sale of offshore oil leases off the coast of Louisiana in August if we don’t get a larger share of the revenue.
Whether or not this can be done remains to be seen, if it comes to that. Of course, Blanco is hoping it doesn’t and that the feds will suddenly offer us 50 percent of the revenue from offshore production from 6 to 10 miles out. At present, Louisiana gets all of the revenue up to 3 miles out and 27 percent of it from 3 to 6 miles out.
It is only right that Louisiana get a larger share of revenues from production out there. Other states get 50 percent of revenue coming from federal land within them. Texas has always received oil revenue from water bottoms up to 10 miles out.
Getting a greater share of the revenue off the Louisiana coast would allow the state to create the greatest hurricane defense of all - - restoring the coast which would retard future Katrinas even before they could begin washing away levees. Enriching the barrier islands with sand and introducing fresh water and sediment from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers into the coastal wetlands is what we need to build up the land to withstand future hurricane surges.
Rebuilding the coast, which lost a lot of solid ground in the hurricane, will also help rebuild the most productive estuary in the country where half of its commercial seafood is born. We’re sure the rest of the country would go for that.
In normal years, Louisiana loses up to 50 square miles of land each year to erosion. If nothing is done, the present coast will soon disappear. And if that happens, there will be no more seafood industry. Likewise, the launching area for this country’s greatest concentration of offshore oil production will be gone.
So it stands to reason the country has a great deal to lose if coastal Louisiana washes away. Governor Blanco has a good argument on her side.
Giving us a greater share of revenues out there is only good common sense. The federal government will get a whole lot more in return.
We hope they realize that before it is too late.