Deepwater drilling nearly a year after Gulf Oil Spill

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Talking to Louisiana's Oil and Gas Association, Governor Bobby Jindal didn't tell them anything they don't already know. The deadly Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, 2010 put deepwater drilling in the Gulf on hold. Since the moratorium only eight new drilling permits have been issued as the one year mark approaches.

"And certainly that's an improvement over none, but that's still no where near where we need to be," said Gov. Jindal.

Before the disaster there were 61 working rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Today there are only 26. With the livelihoods of Louisiana businesses in the balance, Jindal says they continue to push the Department of Interior.

"We want them to regulate drilling so it is done safely. But at the same time we don't want them to shut down this drilling activity off our coast. What worries me is the impact not only on the big companies, but more importantly what it's going to do to our fabrication shops our supply vessels and our caterers - those small Louisiana businesses," said Jindal.

It's not just along the Gulf coast, the disruption is being felt nationwide as Louisiana accounts for 1/3 of the U.S. energy supply.

"We have 25% of all the oil, 25% of all the natural gas that's produced in the nation comes from the state of Louisiana. And 50% of oil the diesel fuel and the gasoline that fuels the engines of this country all flows through the pipeline infrastructure of our state through our refineries," said Don Briggs, President of the LA Oil and Gas Association.

According to Briggs there's only one way to increase our energy independence from overseas.

"Stop importing so much. And the way we do that is drill more. Because we have the resources here in the U.S. To drill not just in Louisiana, but in other parts of the country," said Briggs.

Governor Jindal said part of the reason it's so hard to get permits is because of the unpredictable regulatory environment. He's urging the feds to level the playing field and make it clear what companies need to do to get the green light to drill.

Copyright 2011 KPLC. All rights reserved.