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Biden's oil & gas halt will be 'death knell' to Louisiana coastal communities, officials say

Lafourche Parish is home to a slew of oil and gas jobs. Archie Chaisson fears the ban will impact more than just the parish’s oil and gas workers.

LAFOURCHE PARISH, La. — President Joe Biden will be announcing a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on U.S. lands as the administration moves to change Trump-era policies on the environment and address climate change, according to a report from the Associated Press published Tuesday. 

The move comes just days after President Biden issued a 60-day suspension on new federal drilling permits on federal lands and waters.

“To say we are disgusted is an understatement,” said Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson.

Lafourche Parish is home to a slew of oil and gas jobs. Chaisson said the parish taxes offshore vessels just like they tax someone’s home. He fears the ban will impact more than just the parish’s oil and gas workers.

“It’s not only the off-shore vessels but they are buying water from the water district, so the water district sees a reduction, these companies are buying supplies from our local vendors whether it’s hardware stores or safety stores.”

Lafourche Parish is also where Port Fourchon is. The port services nearly all of the Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater oil production and more than 200 companies that use the port as a base for their operations.

 In a statement from Chett Chiasson, the Greater Lafourche Port Commission’s executive director said, “the President’s announcement of a federal permitting and leasing ban in the Gulf of Mexico will be the death knell of our community for years to come,” the statement read.

 “Not only does it impact our local economy with loss of jobs, funding for schools, police, fire protection, drainage but more importantly it takes critical funding away that helps us rebuild our coastal landscape, construct flood risk reduction levees, restore habitat, protect our ecosystem, and ultimately become more resilient and environmentally sustainable.”

On the other side of the coin, environmental groups are praising the action as another step in the fight against climate change.

“We have to recognize that America is changing and that renewable jobs, specifically wind and solar, will be the main driver in our workforce,” said Dr. Beverly Wright with the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, who worked with the Biden transition team. “This is going to put $400 billion into renewables. That’s a lot of money to create renewable jobs.”

President Biden is expected to announce the moratorium on Wednesday.

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