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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Spike Lee : When the Levees Broke

Spike took our advice and addressed global warming in the HBO documentary. He also included wetlands and barrier island restoration issues. He did not cover our recommendation to drain Lake Pontchartrain during hurricane season. When we spoke to Spike about the documentary he wanted to use former Vice President Al Gore to comment on global warming if he decided to include the issue. Maybe Gore was busy getting ready to promote his book and movie about global warming.

One commenter actually said the oil companies were "broke" because of Katrina. What rock has he been hiding under? Oil companies made record profits this year. Two or three commenters stated that Louisiana does not receive royalty funds from offshore oil operations. Another commenter said Louisiana would be Saudi Arabia if it seceded from the union. We have some more precise information if you are interested.

A U.S. District Judge turned down Gov Kathleen Blanco's request to block the sale of federal natural gas and oil leases in the western Gulf of Mexico but agreed with Blanco that the federal Minerals Management Service (MMS) did not conduct an adequate environmental impact statement regarding offshore drilling and hurricane damage to Louisiana's coast. Blanco was trying to force the government to give Louisiana a bigger share of the royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling. Louisiana now receives less than 2 percent of royalties from oil and natural gas produced in the Gulf. Royalties are payments to the Interior Department's MMS based on the value at the lease of any natural gas and oil actually produced. (Royalties)

While Blanco was politicking and litigating, the Senate and House passed bills that would give Louisiana and other Gulf states more - 37.5 percent under the Senate bill, 50 to 75 percent under the House bill. The differences will be reconciled in a House/Senate conference committee in September. Ironically, although higher royalty rates for Louisiana would help in rebuilding New Orleans, the Congressional Black Caucus voted against the lesislation.

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