LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana is moving away from oil and gas and toward renewable energy.
This comes as President Biden continues to shut down oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico. Governor Edwards says the president’s restrictions are forcing the state to change course.
“We’re looking at carbon capture and sequestration. We’re going to be refining diesel in Louisiana from corn and from soy beans and from pine trees. So we are absolutely moving in that direction already, but we need to accelerate that. We need to pursue hydrogen and other things as well,” Governor Edwards added.
He says this is where Louisiana’s oil and gas industry is headed.
“G.M. has already announced that by 2025, they are not going to produce another non-electric vehicle. You’ve got Shell saying that peak production in oil happened in 2019, and they are never going to get back to those levels,” he said. “You’ve got oil and gas companies, whether it’s Shell or BP, all of them re-branding as energy companies, and Louisiana is going to have to move in that direction too otherwise we will get 10, 15, 20 years down the road, and if we haven’t diversified, if we haven’t embraced renewables, then we are going to be in really bad shape.”
President Biden promised to fight climate change, and in his first days in office, he made good on that promise, temporarily shutting down oil and gas lease sales in an effort to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
It’s a move that put Louisiana’s oil and gas industry in danger, and Governor Edwards says it’s forcing the state to now shift towards renewable energy.
“We have to make sure we open our eyes, and we’re going to take advantage of all of our strengths with respect to oil and gas production. It’s never going to go to zero. A lot of people don’t know this but natural gas, for example, is a feed stock in chemical manufacturing and for so many things from plastics to fertilizer. So it’s never going to stop, but we know that the amount of oil and gas produced is going to be diminishing overtime, which is why we have to open up other avenues for employment and investment,” Governor Edwards told News Ten.
The transition from oil and gas to renewable energy, however, won’t happen overnight, and Governor Edwards says he’s trying to find a way to make the switch without hurting Louisiana.
“I look forward to having a meeting with the president to discuss the importance of oil and gas, even as we transition away from fossil files, but that transition is going to be decades long. So we want to make sure we are going to continue to produce oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said.
Abruptly shutting down oil and gas production in the gulf would leave over 100,000 residents without a job and destroy an industry that drives Louisiana’s economy. Governor Edwards says that can’t happen.
“That’s what we need for him to understand, and we also need to start diversifying our economy by embracing renewable energy. That’s something we have to work on as well,” he said.