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Nov 03, 2006
EDITORIAL: A victory won for state's coast

Periodically, the press office will publish editorials and columns that feature Governor Blanco's work in various areas.

Advocate Opinion page staff
Published: Nov 3, 2006


The campaign to save Louisiana's coast is being waged on many fronts, and it won't be won in a single battle.

But each incremental victory helps, and on that score, we're gratified by Gov. Kathleen Blanco's recent success in a lawsuit against the federal government concerning the sale of oil and gas leases off Louisiana's coast.

Blanco sued the federal government in July to stop an August lease sale for offshore oil and gas exploration. The governor contended the federal government's environmental assessments related to the leases were done before hurricanes Katrina and Rita and did not acknowledge the effects of the storms. As part of her suit, Blanco sought a court order blocking the August lease sale.

In August, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt refused to issue a court order blocking the August sale, but he said the state would have a strong case when the issue went to trial in November. The U.S. Department of the Interior decided to settle the case.

As part of the agreement, the Department of the Interior promised to postpone another lease sale planned for March until it completes a new environmental impact study that takes into account the 217 square miles of Louisiana's coast washed away in hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Additionally, oil and gas companies planning to drill in areas involved in August's lease sale are required to prepare a new environmental assessment, subject to review by Louisiana coastal officials, before they can develop the leases.

The settlement does not obligate the federal government to spend any additional money on coastal restoration.

But Blanco's suit did not seek any money from Washington. That is a political question still up for debate on Capitol Hill.

Such debates have a better chance of yielding fruitful results if they're based on timely scientific information. The settlement of Blanco's suit should help in that regard.

For that hopeful development, the governor deserves some credit.


Find this article at:
http://www.2theadvocate.com/opinion/4556891.html?showAll=y&c=y 


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