Sen. Breaux to Shell employees: Time for industry unity

Former Senator says offshore revenue sharing key to coastal restoration. Repairing wetlands crucial. He advises formation of 'Louisiana Oil Producing and Energy Cooperative'...

Dec 12th, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 12, 2005 -- Meeting with Shell Exploration & Production employees in Louisiana and Texas on Monday, former U.S. Sen. John B. Breaux (D-LA) said that Shell is one of the corporate backbones of Louisiana. He stressed in his comments that it is in the nation's interest that Louisiana and New Orleans successfully recover. Breaux said, "Shell's commitment to return to its New Orleans offices early next year is a significant step in support of the city's recovery. I applaud Shell for its commitment to come home."

"It is time for all of Louisiana's friends around the world who labor everyday to secure our energy future to unite and band together," said Breaux. "We can call our entity, LOPEC, Louisiana Oil Producing and Energy Cooperative"

Breaux told the group that he had been working in Congress for over 30 years on a reasonable way to compensate Louisiana for hosting most of America's combined oil and gas production, refinery and transportation systems. During that period, the prospect of sharing royalties on offshore oil production has been turned back, as most non-producing states were unwilling to recognize Louisiana for its unique contribution to the nation's energy infrastructure.

"For those who think Louisiana has become rich by helping to feed this nation's growing energy appetite, I invite them to come down and see our eroding wetlands, our infrastructure and impacted communities," continued Breaux. The federal government rewards interior states with a 50% share of revenues from oil and gas production.

Since the leveeing of the Mississippi in 1927, valuable wetlands that protect communities and the flow of commerce from the onslaught of powerful storms have deteriorated to a degree that upwards to $100 billion in infrastructure is now near exposure and threatened. Wetlands are nature's natural defense against storm surge, provide a unique ecosystem and house an intricate network of pipelines so vital to national security that maps of the area known as America's WETLAND are classified.

Shell Oil Company has been a key player and world sponsor of America's WETLAND: Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana, the largest public education initiative in Louisiana history.

"When Louisiana needed to build a public awareness effort to tell the world about the dire state of coastal wetlands in Louisiana, Shell stepped up to the plate to be world sponsor of the effort," said Breaux. "Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused devastation, but one positive aspect has been the heightened awareness of Louisiana's problem. With the assistance of Shell three years ago, we began alerting the nation and the world to two very important messages: America's WETLAND is key to our nation's energy and economic security, and this seventh largest deltaic system on earth is of world ecological significance. Now is the time to raise the bar on these efforts," Breaux continued.

Breaux said the idea of LOPEC is to build an informal coalition that can help support revenue sharing for Louisiana in the nation's capital. Shell has been a leader in advocating offshore revenue sharing and urges other businesses to do the same.

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