The Vernon Parish Police Jury unanimously passed a resolution to lift the six-month moratorium on deep water drilling Monday evening.



The Vernon Parish Police Jury unanimously passed a resolution to lift the six-month moratorium on deep water drilling Monday evening.
According to Melvin Haymon, third vice president of the organization, the Police Jury Association of Louisiana is encouraging police juries across the state to pass the same resolution.
"The last thing the Gulf Coast area needs is a public policy that will certainly destroy thousands of existing jobs while preventing the creation of thousands more," the resolution reads.
Several jurors, including Haymon, said that they'd received calls from residents in their districts who are worried about losing their jobs in off-shore drilling because of the moratorium.
President Barack Obama said he understands the difficulties stemming from a six-month moratorium on new permits for deepwater drilling but told the nation Tuesday night during his first address from the Oval Office that he has to ensure the safety of those who work on the rigs. He added that he wants to hear a national panel's recommendations to improve worker safety and environmental protections before the moratorium is lifted. He says he also wants to understand what led to the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig.
The Vernon Parish Police Jury isn't the only agency in the state concerned about the affects of the moratorium.
In Baton Rouge, Governor Bobby Jindal dispatched a delegation - led by Lt. Gov Scott Angelle - to meet with U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and other federal officials on Wednesday, June 16, to discuss the significant economic impact of the drilling moratorium and ask the administration to quickly end the moratorium so thousands of Louisianians do not lose their jobs. In addition to the economic impact, they will discuss potential alternatives for implementing the Department of Interior's proposed safety recommendations.?The delegation will present Secretary Salazar with a petition put together by the Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST) that calls for the federal government to swiftly implement proper safety standards and lift the drilling moratorium. To date, more than 83,000 people have joined the Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST) and signed the petition calling on the President to end the drilling moratorium. The petition can be found online at www.GEST.LA.gov. ?Members of the delegation include Lieutenant Governor Scott A. Angelle; Lori LeBlanc, Deputy Secretary, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources; Louisiana State Senator Norby Chabert; Louisiana State Representative Gordon Dove; Charlotte Randolph, Lafourche Parish President, President of Parishes Against Coastal Erosion (PACE);  Arlanda Williams, Terrebonne Parish Council Chairwoman; King Milling, Chairman of America's Wetland Foundation and more.
A pair of House and Senate Republicans introduced legislation Tuesday to end the ban, as well. 
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) also filed legislation to lift the short-term moratorium out of concern that the ban, which the White House has said could be lifted before the six months are exhausted, would only exacerbate the negative economic effects of the spill. ?"This moratorium threatens to finish what the oil spill started," Vitter said in a statement. "If it stays in place, even for six months, it will be a devastating blow to the economy of Louisiana and other Gulf states."?The Republicans aren't the only one to support lifting the ban, either. Vitter's Louisiana colleague, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), has also urged the president to lift the moratorium. ?Other lawmakers from Gulf states, however, have joined with Obama in a more measured approach, waiting for federal officials and the president's oil spill commission to finish its work on investigating the causes of the spill and ways to prevent future accidents before allowing new drilling starts.?Olson argued that stalled drilling could adversely affect the oil industry in Gulf states for perhaps a decade if the moratorium is allowed to persist. ?"Industry experts indicate losses of millions of dollars per day and have explored moving operations overseas," he said. "It would take a minimum of 5-10 years to get production back to normal operations should these rigs leave."
Some have suggested alternatives to the moratorium.
Congressman Anh "Joseph" Cao (LA-02),  speaking on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, said the BP oil spill has already devastated the economy of New Orleans and Jefferson Parish.  "Hundreds of businesses have closed," he said, "and thousands of people are out of work." ?Cao said "there is a very simple solution," one that will  give the administration time to review safety procedures on offshore oil rigs and devise possible regulatory changes while saving all those jobs in the meantime:  "Allow the oil companies to do partial drilling.  Allow them to drill, but  do not allow them to tap into the reservoir."? Cao pointed out that "modern technology allows companies to know exactly where the oil is," so they can pursue preparatory drilling  but stop short of actually tapping wells until full-scale drilling resumes, thus keeping Louisiana's oil and gas industry afloat without compromising safety concerns.?Later, in a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Cao told BP America President Lamar McKay that he would have been treated more harshly long ago in Asia.?After Congressman Cliff Stearns called for McKay's resignation, Cao said, "Mr. Stearns asked Mr. McKay to resign.  Well, in the Asian culture, we do things differently.  During the Samurai days, we just give you a knife and ask you to commit harakiri," an act of ceremonial suicide.
If you or anyone you know has lost a job due to the moratorium and you'd like to tell your story, contact the Leesville Daily Leader at 337-239-3444 or ldleadernews@gmail.com.