Skip to content

Boustany Statement: Hearing on Immediate Need for Charitable Assistance in the Gulf Coast Region

July 20, 2010

Thank you, Chairman Lewis for convening this hearing to discuss the ongoing crisis in the Gulf Coast.

As a proud Louisianian – I’ve witnessed this tragedy unfold over the past 91 days firsthand.  The oil spill devastates Gulf Coast families and workers, the economy and our delicate ecosystems. 

Above all we can never forget those brave 11 rig workers that died working to deliver the energy we all rely on each day.

Gulf Coast residents are grateful for the outpouring of support we’ve received from across the globe as we work to tackle yet another disaster in our battered region.  But we are resilient and will emerge from this crisis even stronger.  I welcome the opportunity to discuss ways we can better work with the charitable community to fulfill Gulf Coast needs.

I also want to talk about the single most important issue facing the people of Louisiana today – and that is jobs.  President Obama’s unilateral and unwarranted drilling ban is galvanizing residents across the state like I’ve never seen before.

Tomorrow thousands of people will gather at a rally in my hometown to urge the Administration to lift the ban now.  They include not only rig workers and energy engineers but also dockworkers, helicopter pilots, restaurant owners and motel workers. 

The ban hurts everyone and we stand unified in our efforts to save thousands of good paying Louisiana jobs.

The long-term implications of the President’s ban are real.  Already two Gulf rigs left American waters, heading to other parts of the globe.  That trend is likely to continue. 

Once a rig is gone – it could be years before it returns – if it ever returns at all.  And smaller companies that cannot afford to move are simply going to abandon their work in the Gulf altogether – costing thousands of workers good paying jobs.

Cameron Rental and Tank, a small business located near the coast in Southwest Louisiana, supplies cargo carrying equipment to offshore rigs.  More than 72 percent of its business revenue comes from rigs blocked by the moratorium.  As a result, energy companies cancelled contracts and wait indefinitely to sign new ones, leaving the 22 employees and their families facing an uncertain future.

Stories like this are playing out across the state impacting thousands of workers and families each day the ban remains in place.  

The Administration needs to quickly and fully investigate what caused the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill and implement safety precautions targeted at preventing such a tragedy in the future.  Energy production in the Gulf of Mexico can be done safely and is essential to our nation’s energy security.  Shutting down U.S. production is not the answer.

Mr. Chairman, thank you again for holding this important hearing today and I look forward to hearing the testimony of our witnesses.