Louisiana official pushes natural gas use

In 2008, the price of oil hit $149 a barrel. Within months, the price plummeted and the U.S. plunged into one of its worst recessions in history — an economic boondoggle it’s still trying to shake off.

“There have been six recessions in the U.S. since 1972 — all were preceded by a spike in energy prices,” Louisiana Lt. Gov. Scott Angelle told Offshore Marine Service Association members at its quarterly meeting last week. 

Angelle was touting what he calls the three “Es” — energy, environment, and the economy. If we don’t get it right, he said, our children would be the first generation to have less than the generation that came before it.

One way to reach the goal of the three Es is by putting more emphasis on natural gas and less on the importation of foreign oil, Angelle said. “Seven years ago Alan Greenspan said we didn’t have enough natural gas [reserves]. Today, we have an overabundance,” said Angelle.

He said that the U.S. government has to realize that natural gas is abundant, clean, and cheap compared to imported oil.

Also at the meeting, Kerry B. Drake, president of Wright & Percy Insurance, Baton Rouge, La., discussed potential health care costs associated with President Obama’s health care reform. He said that companies must now stop administrating health care costs and start managing them.

“Without reform, heath care costs were unsustainable anyway. Now it’s just going to be worse,” he said.

Rising health care costs are no longer just a human resource department issue but an economic issue that affects not only your health care costs but also your entire bottom line, he said. “Hold health care providers accountable. Get involved in analytics to manage your costs.”

Even if there are substantial changes in the leadership in Washington over the coming months and years, health care reform will not be repealed. “I think there will be changes there,” he said. The real danger, however, is waiting in hopes that the coming elections will lead to a return to the past. “If you do nothing, that’s not sustainable,” said Drake.

About the author

Ken Hocke

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.

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