Just Leave, Scott
Scott Angelle is the Louisiana Republican Party's favorite Democrat. The interim Lt. Governor has been offered audiences all across the state to deliver his special brand of mocking 'humor' at President Obama. The President's great sin, it seems, is to have recognized that the interests of the oil and gas industry and the interests of this state are not the same and to have the decency to have chosen the state's interest instead of the industry's.
This is precisely what the President did with the deep water drilling moratorium and it has driven the industry crazy. It is unprecedented.
So, Angelle has become a great tool for the industry and Republicans as they try to conceal the starkly partisan nature of their anti-moratorium gambit now exposed as a hoax.
Scott, if you're managing legislation for a Republican governor who is wrecking the public infrastructure of this state, you are not a Democrat. If you are raising money for the Republican governor, you are not a Democrat. And, performing a comedy routine for the Chouests and Bollingers at the expense of the President is your idea of fun, you are not a Democrat.
Just go, we'll all feel better about it in the morning.
Here's the link to the archive page.
Thank you for reading!
Mike Stagg, Editor
Katrina, FEMA, Formaldehyde, & Vitter
Today is the Fifth Anniversary of one of the most tragic days in Louisiana history the flooding of New Orleans after the failure of the federal levee system in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Commerative services and events have been taking place in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes all week.
One of the most maddening things about the entire post-Katrina history was what could be called the depraved indifference of FEMA and the federal government to the well-being of the people they were supposedly trying to help.
Nothing better captured that than the formaldehyde saturated trailers that FEMA bought and sent to Louisiana to provide shelter to people displaced by the floods and the storm.
The chemical inflicted a whole new level of misery on people whose only crime was to have had faith in the levee system that they were led to believe would protect them.
The incident helped raise public awareness about the dangers associated with exposure to the chemical. As it turns out, the Environmental Protection Agency had been conducting reviews of formaldehyde and its carcenogenic properties. The first review took place in 1989, according to this time line from the investigative journalism site Pro Publica.
In 2004, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe convinced the EPA to delay reclassification of the chemical, despite evidence from the National Cancer Institute linking formaldehyde to lukemia.
In 2005, Koch Industries bought one of the largest producers of formaldehyde, Georgia Pacific. The company has since been a staunch opponent of the reclassification of formaldehyde as a carcenogin, according to a recent article in The New Yorker magazine.
As luck (and campaign contributions) would have it, the Koch brothers found a staunch ally in their fight in the person of the junior Senator from Louisiana, David Vitter.
Vitter issued a hold on Senate consideration of EPA nominees unless the agency agreed to conduct yet another review of the chemical. The agency finally relented. The Kochs have been fairly generous to Vitter in appreciation of his efforts, according to Open Secrets.
If there's not a special recognition of Vitter for these efforts this week, perhaps one can be arranged in Hell at a later date?
Three months into the moratorium on the U.S. Department of the Interior's moratorium on deep water drilling and it is abundantly clear that the doom and gloom prophesied by opponents of the moratorium have not materialized.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission's (LWC) latest report shows record employment in the state in July, with falling unemployment in every metro market, including the Houma and Lafayette markets the areas that opponents of the moratorium said would be devastated by the pause in deep water drilling.
The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA) shows drilling rig activity holding steady in the range of about 185 rigs.
The Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) web site offers users the opportunity to examine drilling rig counts over time. In April of this year, LEDA's site shows that there were 75 more drilling rigs active in Louisiana than there were in the same month last year (April is the most recent month available in the LEDA site).
Even the Associate Executive Director for the LSU Center for Energy Studies (LSU CES), David Dismukes, has had to climb down from his predictions of gloom and doom and admit that the job losses the center predicted have not materialized.
Interestingly, all of the above parties were players in the drum beat leading up to the Rally for Economic Survival that opponents of the moratorium organized in Lafayette in July. LOGA was the prime organizer of the event. Presentations by the Louisiana Workforce Commission (PDF) and the LSU Center for Energy Studies (PDF) drove home the supposed dire consequences of the moratorium.
But, at the same time the Louisiana Workforce Commission study was being bandied about on stage in Lafayette, the weekly employment updates from the Commission were reporting falling numbers of new unemployment claims. This trend has continued all summer.
The LWC presentation at the rally was propaganda, pure and simple.
In the three months since it was declared, it has become clear that the moratorium has not had anything remotely near the devastating impact predicted by the oil and gas industry, its apologists and paid hangers on. It has also become clear that the LWC and the LSU CES played key roles in what amounts to a hoax that has been perpetrated against a federal court the public regarding the moratorium on deep water drilling and its impact.
How do we know this? Steady drilling rig counts. Record employment. And court documents.
Confecting A Hoax
To most outside observers, the worst oil spill in U.S. history justified a pause in deep water drilling activity until the causes of the disaster could be determined and new rules promulgated to govern the industry going forward. This is precisely the intent behind the deep water drilling moratorium issued by the Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on May 28.
What Salazar and the Obama administration did not immediately appreciate is that the moratorium threatened the web of offshore service companies in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes. Those companies, especially those headed by Gary Chouest and Donald Bollinger, have become the financial muscle behind the rise of the Republican Party in Louisiana.
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