Oil, gas industry is pumping resources into coastal restoration

The Times-Picayune | Marc Ehrhardt | July 13, 2017

The Louisiana Legislature recently adopted the next phase of the coastal master plan. For the most part, this passage was recognized as an ambitious commitment to secure our economic future through the preservation of our working coast. It is also an opportunity for government and industry to commit financial resources and work together for the good of Louisiana.

A fact that sometimes gets lost in both political and media circles is that the oil and natural gas industry has been, and continues to be, the primary economic driver of state finances — including those dedicated to coastal restoration.

Misguided efforts have targeted the energy industry with lawsuits, arbitrarily declaring that oil and natural gas need to do more. This is the time to recognize that the people and businesses of Louisiana’s oil and natural gas industry bear the enormous responsibility for paying taxes as good corporate citizens and for making contributions to the coast.

If you live in Louisiana today, someone very close by, whether it be a relative or friend in any of the 64 parishes, earns a living, raises a family or enjoys retirement because of the opportunities offered by the industry. Each year, thousands of Louisiana-based oil and natural gas businesses account for $3 billion in taxes and fees to the state. Over and above what is already contributed to the state, each day the industry pays $3.5 million to parishes and cities in Louisiana, totaling $1.3 billion each year.

Some say “these are taxes you have to pay anyway, and we will sue you to get more.” That is wrong.

Between 2006 and 2016, Louisiana’s oil and natural gas industry paid approximately $14 billion for the right to do business in the state, according to the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. This is money above what regular businesses here pay. All the while tens of thousands of Louisiana businesses in oil and natural gas and hundreds of thousands of Louisianians each year pay sales taxes, corporate franchise and income taxes, too.

Read the full op-ed here.