O&G Investor Blog: South Louisianans Say To Washington: Let The Obama Administration Eat Burnt Toast
Nissa Darbonne – John Hofmeister, former Shell Oil Co. president and founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy, says President Obama’s moratorium on offshore drilling will result in higher gasoline prices—and soon. “In 2012, when the pump price is $5, Mr. President, your administration and all of your dreams are toast,” Hofmeister warned today at the Rally for Economic Survival in Lafayette, Louisiana, protesting Obama’s offshore drilling moratorium.
More than 12,000 people gathered mid-day at the Cajundome to hear and contribute to more than two hours of messages for Washington from speakers ranging from the wife of an oilfield worker and mother of six children to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. The crowd consisted of business owners, out-of-work oilfield workers, and other voters. The program began with 93 seconds of silence for the 11 workers who were killed at the Macondo wellsite.
Jim Funk, president and chief executive of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, buttered Hofmeister’s toast metaphor. “We could have burnt toast today in honor of someone in the White House,” he said, drawing one of many dome-raising cheers of the day.
Jindal said Obama suggested in one meeting with him that affected Louisiana energy-industry workers take checks from BP Plc to survive the six-month moratorium. And, if not from BP, then they could take unemployment checks. Jindal said he told Obama, “We don’t want a BP check or an unemployment check. We want to go back to work.”
Chants from the audience included “Drill, baby, drill!,” “Let us go back to work!” and “Lift the ban!” Some speakers repeated phrases in their messages in French, the favored (although fading, due to early 20th century efforts by Washington to Americanize the indigenous French culture) language of South Louisiana.
Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, which organized the rally along with the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and supporting organizations, quoted Andrew Jackson: “Where one man has courage, he makes a majority.” Briggs said, “Today, we’ve had 12,000 people make a majority.” Another 3,000 people were watching the program online and millions more will see the proceedings on television, he added.
Lt. Gov. Scott Angelle: “I believe we live in a country where we can do two things at one time (such as fix the spill and keep on drilling)…Mr. President, we need you to work as hard on this job as you did to GET this job.”
CJ McDonald with petroleum consulting firm McDonald Consulting LLC: As for the Louisiana way of life “all of this is changed by one decision by someone who knows nothing about how we make our living…We need to make it clear to Washington: They work for us. (And, to Obama:) No one person should have the power to diminish the liberties we enjoy.”
Hofmeister said he voted for Obama, drawing boos from the audience. “(Mr. President,) I didn’t expect the boot of your secretary on my neck and the industry I love when I did that…You are making a mistake of your seven predecessors…leading this country into an energy abyss….” His remarks and the audience’s concurrence could have made for a Tea Party rally. “This government is unfixable…Tell the government who works for whom…We’re going to take our country back….”
Stone Energy Corp. president and CEO David Welch: The mistake of the moratorium “is self-inflicted and can be changed with a mere stroke of a pen…Everything (in the Gulf) has been inspected. Mr. President, let us go back to work.”
Billy Nungesser, president, Plaquemines Parish, and a regular on Anderson Cooper’s nightly news program: “Stand still? Can’t?” Obama says the U.S. can’t take the risk of trying to handle more than one Gulf oil spill at once. “None of these words correspond with the United States I know—or I thought I knew…We are in a stranglehold between our government and one oil company…Don’t make us wait and beat on us for six months. Put us back to work tomorrow…We don’t have six months to wait.” The state has been crippled by Katrina, Rita, Gustav and now the spill. “We can’t afford to be crippled (by the moratorium too), Mr. President, because of you…Say it, Mr. President: Yes, we can—drill!”
Jindal: “We will win this war, and this is a war…to defend our way of life.” The spill is a disaster. “The second disaster is the moratorium…We shouldn’t have to fight our own federal government…The fact that the federal government can’t do its job shouldn’t cost thousands of Louisianans their jobs.”
See all 50 tweets from today’s rally: http://twitter.com/NissaDarbonne.