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Aug 17, 2010 2:01 PM by Staff

READ: Lieutenant Governor Scott Angelle's Testimony at U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Field Hearing

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR SCOTT ANGELLE'S TESTIMONY AT U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS & ENTREPRENEURSHIP FIELD HEARING

LAFAYETTE, LA - Today, Lieutenant Governor Scott Angelle testified before U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chairman Mary Landrieu and Acting Ranking Member David Vitter in Lafayette, LA at the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE) Center in a Field Hearing entitled "The Deepwater Drilling Moratorium: An Economic Disaster for Louisiana's Small Businesses."

Note: These are remarks as prepared for delivery. Lt. Governor Angelle frequently ad-libs remarks.

Lt. Governor Scott Angelle

The Deepwater Drilling Moratorium: An Economic Disaster for Louisiana's Small Businesses

"Good Morning Madam Chairman and Ranking Member Vitter.

"I bring greetings to you from Governor Jindal and the men and women of Louisiana who have been working for the past 120 days to restore our environmental and economic way of life. I thank you for bringing this hearing of the United States Senate Committee on Small Business to Louisiana which proudly hosts America's most prominent oil and gas economy.

"Since oral testimony is limited to five minutes, I will offer brief comments and introduce a few "faces of the moratorium" to make certain the public record reflects that this is policy is a burden imposed mostly on the middle class of America.

"I thank each of you for your public service and your continued interest in a strong, safe domestic oil and gas industry. I say strong and safe because that is what we have been about, and are about, in the Gulf of Mexico, with a proven track record of nearly 50,000 wells drilled over the last 60 years.

"The issuance of a six month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the United States of America is an overreach, is not necessary and has been deemed arbitrary and capricious by the federal courts. Not only did five of seven of Secretary Salazar's experts chosen to review his safety study publicly oppose the moratorium saying, "it will not measurably reduce risk further and it will have a lasting impact on the nation's economy…," but at least five independently conducted studies referenced in my written comments forecast a huge negative impact on the small businesses of America.

"I am not speaking of the stockholders of BP, Conoco, Shell, Exxon or Chevron. I am speaking of the middle class American men and women who work on the drillings rigs - the ones who put on their hard hats and steel toe boots, kiss their families goodbye for weeks at a time and do the tough work of exploring for the energy to fuel America. But that's not all. The companies that employ welders, fabricators, diesel mechanics, pipefitters, boat captains and forklift operators are seeing a decrease in business. And that's not all. The companies that employ hotel workers, retail clerks, auto mechanics, restaurant workers and caterers are impacted. And that's not all. The banks, auto dealers and real estate folks are feeling the pressure.

"I have said before this moratorium is not about big oil, but rather about the Calaises, the Cheramies, the Dupuises, the Robins and the Boudreauxs and Thibodeauxs-just a few of the South Louisiana middle class families that have taken the risk, borrowed the money, created the jobs, paid the taxes, found the energy, have done nothing wrong and yet find themselves in the bull's-eye of this poor public policy to shut down deepwater drilling.

"But don't just take my word for it.

"Todd Citron, of Hub City Ford, reports a 20 percent drop in sales of both new and used cars since the moratorium."

"Flo Meadows, a Lafayette Realtor, reports that she has had more commercial contracts dropped before closing in the last five months than in the last five years combined.

"Ken Veron, who employs 38 workers at his family owned Café Vermilionville Restaurant, reports his holiday event schedule is normally booked at this time by oilfield service companies, with deposits in hand. Today he does not have a single oilfield service company booked for a holiday event, and two other energy companies have recently cancelled events.

"Layoffs are happening all around us for all the wrong reasons. This comes at a time when our nation has invested nearly $800 billion in stimulus funding to boost the economy and create jobs, yet we still have an unacceptable employment rate.

"There is not one shred of evidence of systemic failure for the operations in the Gulf of Mexico, yet we are being treated with a one size fits all approach. We certainly have the wherewithal in America to immediately institute enhanced safety practices if we are serious and have a sense of urgency about a strong and safe domestic oil and gas industry.

"So the rest of the country can be clear there are real people impacted by this moratorium, allow me to introduce you to a few great Americans.

"The Dustin and Gwen Guillote family from Broussard: Neither are employed in the oil and gas business, but because Dustin's employer, a flooring contractor, has experienced a slow down in work from oil and gas companies, they have been forced to cancel home building plans -- an example of a cascading impact on the economy.

"Bayou Country Harley-Davidson: Since the moratorium, owner Mike Bruno's stores in Slidell and Houma have seen a 38% decrease in sales revenue, and a reduction in net operating profit in excess of $400,000. He has eliminated all advertising, reduced inventory and laid off 14 of the employees pictured here.

"From Cut Off, Kirk and Sheila Rousse and their six children ages 6 to 17: Kirk is an owner/operator-truck driver and terminal manager, hauling offshore equipment and earning commission for the loads he transports. The dramatic decrease in work since the moratorium has the Rousse's unsure of how they will send their oldest son, a heart patient, to college this fall now that they can't afford to pay health insurance premiums.

"Dwayne Rebstock invested $3 million in a Port Fourchon multi-service dock facility that opened less than three months before the moratorium. Since then, he has laid off some of his 30 employees and made other cutbacks as he has attempted to find work not released to the oil and gas industry and keep his business going.

"Thank you again Senator Landrieu and Senator Vitter for having me here today. With your help, Louisiana will not give up on this fight. Not today. Not tomorrow. Never."

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