Congressman Garret Graves supports Trump’s attempted rollback of Clean Energy initiative
by Len Bahr, Ph.D.
On April 7 Mark Schliefstein reported in Nola.com|TheTimes-Picayune that Congressman Garret Graves (R-District 6) shares a remarkably obtuse and tone deaf opinion supporting Donald Trump’s goal to INCREASE without limit both American fossil-based energy production and the volume of our CO2 emissions. Here’s a quote from the article:
Loosening the Obama administration rules, which Graves and others blame in part for a major downturn in exploration and development of oil in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, could entice oil companies back into the gulf to discover new reserves, Graves said. That would increase Louisiana’s revenue under the federal Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, 80 percent of which goes to coastal restoration and protection projects.
This position on the part of Graves comes despite his technical background and eight years of experience as Bobby Jindal’s coastal guru. As the governor’s coastal advisor Graves maintained extensive interactions with the Louisiana coastal science community, each of whom understands the causal connection between steadily increasing carbon emissions and global warming. In addition, Garret served as my putative boss for the first 9 months of Jindal’s term, at which point I was strongly encouraged to retire. Exposure to credible science obviously had no influence on Graves’ policy views.
This congressman received some engineering training at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston; his father heads Evans-Graves Engineering, a company that has had many coastal contracts with the state; and he knows full well that Louisiana is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, as articulated in the 2017 master plan that he helped oversee before beginning his political career. Graves continues to be very much in the pocket of big oil and philosophically hostile to the ultimate need to phase out fossil carbon as the dominant U.S. energy source.
Both he and his former boss Jindal vehemently opposed President Obama’s call for a temporary moratorium on drilling following the BP Blowout in 2010, until a practical blowout preventer could be designed. Graves and Jindal both strongly opposed the so-called levee lawsuits brought against 97 oil and gas companies to require remuneration to the state for their fossil fuel footprint of coastal destruction.
Graves’ call for more offshore production as a means of increasing funding for coastal ‘repairs’ is analogous to encouraging traffic violations so as to increase revenues from lawbreakers. Depending on licensing and production fees to support the coastal program is also tantamount to shifting the cost of coastal restoration from oil and gas company stockholders, navigation interests and other coastal user groups to out of state taxpayers who have no dog in the fight.
Encouraging unrestricted offshore oil and gas production into the future, without supporting the phaseout to renewable energy guarantees the inundation of America’s Delta. Nevertheless, that lesson has still not sunk into the mindset of each and every GOP elected official in Louisiana.