Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bush says to Louisiana - "Go f*** yourself"

Baton Rouge Advocate (7/20/2005):

Gov. Kathleen Blanco said it was "incomprehensible" to learn that the energy secretary, on behalf of the Bush administration, opposed coastal-restoration assistance and the sharing of revenue with the energy-producing coastal states in the federal energy bill being hammered out by a conference committee of House and Senate members.

"That this administration could actively oppose compensating states that continue to produce so much of our nation's energy is just shortsighted, it's irresponsible," Blanco said in a written statement. ...

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., were able to shepherd a provision into the measure that would give Louisiana an estimated $540 million from offshore gas and oil royalties for coastal restoration over four years. ...

Blanco urged Louisianians to write or call The White House to tell the administration about the importance of the state's coast. She also invited President Bush and Bodham to tour the coast. ...

"Since Louisiana's coast contributed more than $5 billion to the federal treasury last year alone, we have certainly done our fair share to support the needs of the treasury," Landrieu said in a written statement. ...

"They talk about the importance of saving the coast, but when it comes to putting the money on the table, they show they don't have much of a stomach for it," said Mark Davis, executive director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. "The White House sees this as a budget issue and never seemed to buy the idea that saving our coast was in any shape or form tied to this nation's energy policy."

Vitter said he was disappointed in the White House. He added that he was meeting with conference committee members and that he was hopeful an energy bill would emerge with money for Louisiana still in it.

Blanco has called revenue sharing the best source of funding to fix Louisiana's coast, which has lost an area the size of Delaware since the 1930s. The state continues to lose coastal wetlands, and by 2050, scientists say, the state could lose 700 more square miles if nothing is done.


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