SCIA supports the position to not sue oil companies
South Central Industrial Association (SCIA) represents more than 250 member companies with over 200,000 employees within the parishes of Terrebonne, Lafourche and St. Mary, many of whom are engaged in servicing the oil and gas operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and around the world. We serve as the economic engine for the bayou region, which is the hub for the offshore oil, gas and marine industries in Louisiana, while being interactive with the industry throughout the nation.
As business leaders in our region, we have always recognized coastal restoration and protection are urgently needed to protect our businesses and thriving economy. We also recognize that the oil companies who play a major role in the economic base of this region support and contribute to the funding of the coast in the state of Louisiana. Additionally, the state has a mechanism in place to assure that regulations are followed through the Coastal Resource Management Act.
It was recently reported that the bayou region of Louisiana has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation. This is a devastating position. The livelihood of this region is to serve as the support system for the oil, gas and marine industries which has been in utter turmoil for several years. This is not the time, nor is it necessary for the state of Louisiana to take further action with the oil companies.
Under these circumstance, SCIA stands strong and believes that the governor of Louisiana should reconsider his position on this issue and strive to work more closely with the oil companies to assure continued economic success while partnering with helping to save our coast. Lawsuits are not the answer in determining the economic survival of this state. In fact, this should not be about lawyers, this should be about economic survival of the people of this state during a time when no one knows if they will survive this major economic downturn.
Proposed EPA Air Regulations Have Major Impacts on Bayou Region, Nation
By: Jane Arnette, SCIA Executive Director
Since 2010, the EPA has been working to lower the standards for ground level ozone, a regulation which would kill jobs, industry, and make it far more difficult for us to generate electricity, manufacture our own goods, travel in our own cars and trucks, and extract oil and gas in much of the United States.
The current standard for ground-level ozone is 75 parts per billion, (ppb) and if you wanted to know what one part per billion looks like - it is equivalent to 1 drop of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Here in the Bayou Region, our ozone emissions levels have a three year average of 71 ppb, which are in compliance with the existing standards. However, the EPA is currently proposing to lower the standards to somewhere between 70 and 65 ppb, and are even accepting public comments on dropping the levels as low as 60 ppb.
The threat to industry and transportation in the Bayou Region should we fall in to non-attainment is real and significant. Businesses would be required to install expensive scrubbers, or be forced to suspend operations during significant parts of the day for much of the year. Major transportation infrastructure projects would be subject to additional studies before being allowed to receive Federal funding, and every day commuters and drivers would potentially be required to use more expensive lower emissions fuels or emission reduction devices in their vehicles.
SCIA is deeply concerned about the EPA's proposed changes to the ozone regulations, as this unfunded mandate will place much of the country out of compliance, forcing hundreds of millions of dollars in compliance costs annually and/or forcing industries to shut down facilities across the country.
Locally, in the Bayou Region, we have signed on to the EPA's Advance program for ozone compliance, and most importantly, our ozone levels have been decreasing even in the midst of an unprecedented oil and gas services boom in our region. Not only does this demonstrate the Bayou Region's commitment to lower emissions voluntarily, but it also calls in to question the modelling EPA relies on which would squarely blame oil and gas support industries (particularly marine vessels and associated vessel and truck traffic) for increasing emissions.
In order to help deal with these potentially game-changing impacts to our region's economy, SCIA has been working with La DEQ and other regional groups on a cohesive effort to object to these proposed changes, including generating letters of support, resolutions from government, and coalition letters from national and statewide industry associations.
The materials this SCIA working group have produced are available for your information and use to help you determine how you will help in the fight to either suspend this proposed rules change, or to help craft legislative solutions which will minimize the impacts on our region.
EPA is accepting public comments until March 17, 2015, you can find more information on how to submit your comments, as well as a template letter and some talking points by clicking here