on November 20, 2014 at 1:05 PM, updated November 20, 2014 at 9:46 PM
Louisiana stands to gain more than 31,000 jobs and nearly $344 million per year in new state revenue over the next two decades if areas of the eastern Gulf of Mexico now off limits to oil and gas exploration are opened, according to a report released this week by the American Petroleum Institute and the National Ocean Industries Association.
Federal law bans all drilling in the majority of the eastern gulf off the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and western Florida through 2022.
Conservationists say opening the area to oil and gas work would harm the environment and are pushing for the ban to become permanent. They note that oil companies have yet to explore all of the offshore areas now available for leasing.