Opinion: Oil industry is doing its part for the coast

houma-today-houma-laHouma Today | January 29, 2017 | Marc Ehrhardt

The oil and natural gas industry has been an economic partner and steward of Louisiana's working coast for more than a century. It is providing a significant portion of the funding that will make the Coastal Master Plan a reality. Any honest evaluation of the past, as well as the efforts to protect the future, will conclude that Louisiana's oil and natural gas industry has always been a partner in building our communities and working together on our coast.

For decades, Louisiana's leaders and its residents have understood when the oil and natural gas industry thrives the state thrives - with more and better paying jobs for hundreds of thousands of working families.

It is in the best interest of our state's culture and coast to have a safe, prospering oil and natural gas industry.

A productive oil and natural gas industry creates revenue for Louisiana from royalties and taxes that fill the government coffers and provide the largest stream of consistent funding the state has for working on the coast.

Today, there are dozens of major ongoing conservation projects funded by the industry happening across the coast with business, community, state and federal cooperation. The industry has contributed more than $4 billion to the state's coastal restoration since 2009, and the oil and natural gas industry will contribute an estimated $200 million a year for the foreseeable future to coastal projects.

Currently, a partnership between the New Orleans Geological Society and five Louisiana universities is using $200 million in industry data to conduct research of seismic faults along the Louisiana coast. Miles of oyster reefs have been created through cooperative programs between the industry and local communities. The largest private wetlands landowner in the U.S. - an energy company - is caring for wetlands extending 120 miles west to east from the Atchafalaya Basin to the Mississippi River. Another energy company planted more than 1 million trees in coastal and marsh lands.

Read the full op-ed here.

Marc Ehrhardt is executive director of the Grow Louisiana Coalition.

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