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Congressman Garret Graves supports Trump’s attempted rollback of Clean Energy initiative

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Cartoon by Steve Breen March 7, 2017

Cartoon by Steve Breen March 7, 2017

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.

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  1. Edward Bodker says:

    Len,

    Bob Marshall’s latest article (below) makes good points about emissions and sea level rise, very well written, but he seems to be giving CPRA credit for leading the way in linking climate change to wetland loss. He references the Master Plan as clearly stating climate change to be the primary cause of our wetland problems. I must be missing something because I didn’t see that in the MP. and it seems to me that CPRA still skirts around climate change. Could you comment on this and if there is something I’ve overlooked in the MP, please bring it to my attention.

    Thanks Ed

    http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2017/04/emissions_louisiana_coast.html#incart_river_home

    • Ed-
      I agree with your comments and wonder as well why Bob isn’t more critical of the plan, especially in terms of the absence of a specific section on global warming. I’ve recommended that page one of the master plan should highlight a paragraph in the form of a disclaimer that, absent international action on greenhouse gas reductions during the next decade, the master plan cannot succeed. Our climate change denying legislators should be forced to acknowledge this by approving or disapproving the plan during the current session.
      Len

  2. Anonymous says:

    What’s in your vehicle fuel tank?? Oh, you have an electric vehicle. Where do you plug it in order to recharge your batteries? Could the source of electricity be from a COAL FIRED PLANT? Do you really check that? Or is your bark fueled by fossil fuel? Oh, you say you drive a bicycle. That’s fine but does your home have electricity? Etc, etc. etc. ———————————–.
    YOU ARE OVIOUSLY A CO2 EMITTER, PLEASE STOP IT IMMEDIATLY OR THE CLIMATE POLICE WILL ARREST YOU! THE OCEAN MAY RISE A SILLY MILLIMETER BEFORE THE NEXT ASTEROID EXTINCTION EVENT SO EAT DRINK AND BE MERRY.

    • Anonymous-
      As a scientist who recognizes the fundamental importance of the second law of thermodynamics, and an active member of American society, I fully acknowledge the carbon footprint that my family generates and that we continually strive to minimize. We do this because of concern for the future of our grandchildren and their contemporaries – and the rapidly degrading ecosphere.
      Now it’s my turn. Do you, like Trump, deny anthropogenic climate change? Do you support Trump’s decision to eliminate Obama’s more stringent CAFE standards to reduce automotive emissions? Do you support Trump’s decision to overturn Obama’s moratorium on Arctic oil drilling? Do you support Trump’s call to expand, rather than phase out, American coal production?
      Your final comment all in caps reveals an astounding level of ignorance that should embarrass your family.
      Len

      • Anonymous says:

        Apologies for that last couple of sentences. I think the global community will deal with the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere as our understanding of the complete picture evolves. We should strive for that solution since our dependence on fossil fuels for a decent lifestyle is necessary. It is not possible for the US to police the worldwide users of fossil fuel. What is your timeline for a realistic reduction of fossil fuel usage based on the current forms of alternative energy?

        • Anonymous says:

          Additional comment.
          I have no idea why you started this blog. Your blog seems to focus on dealing with very controversial issues. Unfortunately there are individuals who don’t agree with your views or solutions to problems originating from sources that are beyond the reach of most citizens. Your blog is open to anonymous comments so those who stumble onto the site have a wide range of opinions which may conflict with your views.

    • Edward Bodker says:

      Just because we still use fossil fuel doesn’t mean there aren’t better means of producing energy that’s available now and can be futher developed to replace it. Yes, we are like babies wanting to stay on the familiar bottle of fossil fuel, but when we grow up, we’ll learn to take better care of ourselves and the environment that sustains us. You seem to be condeming those of us who use fossil fuel while at the same time arguing that we should stay on it and not prepare for the future. You have a point, it’s just that it doesn’t make good sense.

  3. Addendum:
    A close member of my extended family who may wish to remain anonymous sent me this link to a recent memorable essay by Bob Marshall, who’s soon to retire from his current gig as a reporter for thelensNOLA.org. Read it now!!!
    http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2010/03/the_pig_and_the_pipeline_a_gue.html

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