Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Lafayette Advertiser editorializes that Blanco's stand on oil leases may well succeed.

The idea seems to be gaining traction, in Louisiana, at least.

Former U.S. Sen. John Breaux says there is more cause for optimism than ever before about Louisiana's chances of receiving a fair share of offshore oil and gas revenues. Breaux pushed hard for an equitable revenue- sharing plan throughout his career in Congress, but without success. Bennett Johnson, who also represented Louisiana in the U.S. Senate, was unable to get the state a fair share of offshore revenue, even during his tenure as chairman of the Senate Energy and Resources Committee. Other influential lawmakers, including former U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin, also failed.

"This may be the time that the stars come into alignment and we may get something done," Breaux says.

Things are looking better now because of assaults on Louisiana by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The brutal storms focused national attention on the state and on its need for the oil and gas revenue to pay for coastal restoration and hurricane protection. Gov. Kathleen Blanco has taken a strong stand, warning the federal government that Louisiana might oppose future leases off its coast if the state does not get a fair share of the royalties. In the governor's words, "It is abundantly clear that allowing development to occur where inadequate provisions are made for the protection of that development is irresponsible." The amount of oil and gas activity off our coast means little if we have no coastal communities to take advantage of this activity. We agree.

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