WASHINGTON, DC — About 154,000 high-paying manufacturing jobs in Louisiana depend on access to oil and natural gas on the US Outer Continental Shelf, federal officials were told at the second of four public hearings on Apr. 8.
Louisiana industries use oil and gas not only as energy but also as feedstocks for a wide variety of petrochemicals, testified Virginia Sawyer, vice-president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, at the US Department of the Interior’s hearing on a draft proposed 5-year OCS plan in New Orleans.
While Louisiana accounts for 13% of the total energy exported from oil and gas-producing states, industries use almost 77% of the gas consumed in the state, she said.
“Almost 58% of petroleum produced in Louisiana is consumed by the state’s industrial sector, which employs 154,000 Louisianans, who have an average annual wage of $52,000. This average manufacturing wage is 40% higher than Louisiana’s statewide average wage,” said Sawyer, who also testified on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers.
The potential for generating electricity from renewable and alternative sources does not mean federal policy should focus on it at the expense of oil and gas, she continued.
“While tens of thousands of jobs may be created by the development of alternative energy sources, hundreds of thousands of jobs in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast will be negatively affected if OCS oil and gas production is not aggressively continued. Orderly development of energy should be as fuel-neutral as possible,” Sawyer said.