Boustany weighs in on spill anniversary & redistricting

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - On the Eve of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Congressman Charles Boustany is reminded of a lot of things, especially the lives lost.

"Here we are at the one year mark and we have to still recognize that 11 men lost their lives in this terrible tragedy," said Rep. Boustany, (R) 7th Congressional District.

In town for a roundtable discussion Tuesday, Boustany took the time for a sit down interview. Boustany said the effects from the BP oil spill are still ongoing for Louisiana fisherman and shrimpers.

"Most Louisiana fisherman and jobs that depend on the fishing industry, especially small businesses are still struggling," said Boustany.

The deepwater drilling industry is also struggling. Since the moratorium was put in place only nine new permits have been issued.

"We've got to get drilling and American energy production back up and running full speed in the Gulf. It's important for our country for our national security and economic security and it's going to help us create jobs," said Boustany. "We've got two companies now with these containment systems that are in place. Nowhere else in the world is that required. Once again the U.S. is leading in safety - why shouldn't we be moving forward in producing American energy rather than relying on Venezuela, Brazil, China, Saudi Arabia and other countries to produce oil."

Shallow water drilling is also seeing a decline. "Shallow water drilling is not the same as deepwater and it's got a very stable track record and there was no reason to shut down our shallow water work and so we have been trying to prevail upon the administration that this makes no sense at all," explained Boustany.

According to Boustany - what does make sense is the recent decision to keep Lake Charles and Lafayette in the same Congressional district. Boustany commended local officials and members of the Southwest Louisiana delegation for their part in the redistricting effort.

"They were real leaders and they just really stepped up and heard what the people here wanted and really made the difference and ultimately we kept our region together," said Boustany.

With Louisiana set to lose a congressional seat due to a drop in population, and the lines redrawn Boustany and Rep. Jeff Landry will likely go head to head in an election to see who will continue to represent Southwest Louisiana.

"That's a ways off. I don't know. I am running for re-election. It's a privilege to serve this area and I'm going to work very hard to maintain the trust the people have put in me and we'll see what happens. When you run every two years, you expect an election. You prepare for it. So I will be prepared," said Boustany.

Boustany is up for re-election in the fall of 2012.