LAFAYETTE, LA (KPLC-TV) – U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, the chair of the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee, held a field meeting in Lafayette on Tuesday about the federal moratorium on deepwater drilling's impact on small businesses in Louisiana.
Landrieu's fellow Louisiana Senator David Vitter, co-chaired the hearing.
The senators heard testimony from small business owners and local politicians about the economic impact the moratorium was having on their businesses and communities along Louisiana's coast.
Morgan City Mayor Timothy Matte said he is worried about the future of local workers who are currently employed for BP.
"We're talking about the next month…those jobs will go away," warned Matte.
After hearing testimony, Sen. Landrieu said if the Obama administration thinks its punishing big oil, its not.
"It's clear to me that the administration doesn't have a clear understand of the devastating economic impact of this moratorium…that was caused by their action, not BP's action," said Landrieu.
The hearing was held amid conflicting reports over how much oil remains in the gulf and just one day after a dismal start to the fall shrimp season.
"The Administration's decision to halt drilling activity did more than threaten the livelihoods of thousands of rig workers and oil service crews; it substantially reduced the total amount of economic activity taking place along the Gulf Coast and Texas," said Landrieu.
Louisiana Lt. Gov. Scott Angelle also testified this morning.
Mark Doms, the chief economist for the Department of Commerce, sat in on the testimony. Doms was invited by Sen. Landrieu because he will serve as a lead official to prepare the economic analysis regarding the moratorium's impact on local communities.
To read the opening statement by Sen. Landrieu and to read the testimony given by the witnesses, click here.