Boustany, Melancon sound off on moratorium

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA.(KPLC) -Two of Louisiana's Congressmen in Lake charles today see the appeal court decision on the drilling moratorium as a positive sign for the state's economy.

A federal appeal court's refusal to re-instate the ban on deepwater moratorium is a victory for those who warn such a ban would have a devastating effect on the state's economy. Seventh District Congressman Charles Boustany says the moratorium could even jeopardize Gulf Coast restoration. "The key is to get the federal dollars in to do this. And the most logical way to do that is revenue sharing from the oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. But if you have a moratorium in place, that shuts down all that industry and we lose all those jobs and we lose all that drilling activity there will be no revenue to help us restore our coastline."

The Interior Department says it halted new permits and suspended drilling on exploratory wells to protect the Gulf from another disaster. Boustany says compromise would be great but he doesn't see it. "Right now the administration has basically been intent on a very political decision to shut it all down, to basically shut down an entire industry. We feel that is very arbitrary and capricious to put it in the words the judge used."

Though the federal appeals court refused to immediately re-instate the ban the appeal will move ahead. Third District Congressman Charlie Melancon does think compromise is possible. "My hope today is to get on the phone and either talk with Secretary Salazar's office or with someone at the White House and see if we can't, you know, enough's enough. Let's see if we can find the compromise that I've talked to them about trying to find somewhere's between, 'Drill, baby, drill' and the moratorium. We can keep the industry going and still keep it safe. It's about the economy and it's about keeping the jobs that are here that are important to us."

Melancon is running against David Vitter for U.S. Senate.

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