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Apr 5, 2011 11:28 PM by Shawn Kline

Former US Atty. General speaks about Oil and Gas

A star-studded line-up shows their support in the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association at their annual meeting in Lake Charles on Tuesday.
At the top of that list, former US Attorney General John Ashcroft.

"We have to have more energy- not less energy." Ashcroft says, "it's not time for us to curtail production but it's time for us to expand production."

John Ashcroft is a former Governor, Senator and US Attorney General. He says today's economic climate poses several issues not only for oil and gas companies but other industries as well.

"I'm afraid the debt that burdens America and keeps threatening the tax environment destabilizes all industries," Ashcroft said.

Don Briggs of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association says one of the industry's biggest issues is actually almost a century-old.

"Number one," Briggs said. "We're looking at what we can do to change the legal climate with legacy lawsuits in the state of Louisiana."

Legacy lawsuits, or court rulings that allege contamination from nearly a century ago. Back then, the techniques the industry used were legal and in some cases, considered "ahead of their time."
Briggs says there's more than 200 of these lawsuits in Louisiana alone- and they're driving investors away.

"It's very difficult to drill and operate in a state that has that kind of climate," Briggs said.

While both Briggs and Ashcroft recognize the issues facing the oil and gas industry, they also recognize the necessity of energy.

"There are ways for us to manage the production of oil and gas so we have more energy and not less energy." Ashcroft says, "it's time for us to recognize that as a nation."



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