Our View: Alternative energy still needs petro

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There is no argument. The petroleum industry impacts virtually every aspect of our lives. In Louisiana we know it is not just about fueling motorized vehicles and electrical power plants. We are keenly aware of durable consumer products and services made in most-part by substances derived from the raw materials of oil and natural gas.

We realize our working coast, featuring Port Fourchon, is an energy gateway for the nation. We know the Tri-parishes are second only to Houston in the number of Gulf Coast oil and gas-related jobs.

This leading industry either directly or indirectly supports hundreds of thousands of American households by way of employment and retirement plan investments.

We realize the petroleum industry has not always had a clean record when it comes to the environment and workplace safety. We also acknowledge it has made great strides in developing methods where production and processing can co-habituate with nature, while instilling workplace requirements that makes one of the world’s most dangerous occupations less threatening.

We have seen oil and gas adversely impacted by a federal administration that has made a mission of reducing the influence and positive impact offered by this industry.

We believe the petroleum industry has an opportunity to be at the forefront of expanding energy options and remain a leader, rather than being pushed aside in the race for affordable, practical renewable resources and the equipment required to make those supplies usable.

While anti-petroleum groups tout solar, wind or bio-fuels as the ultimate answers – not realizing that without cost-effective methods to route produced energy to the public all the light absorbing panels, towering turbines and modified engines are of no value – we wonder if already established energy networks might hold the advantage to diversify offerings and advance opportunity.

Diversification does not mean turning away from a core competency or product line. Because fossil fuels would be needed to produce the tools and equipment for alternative energy projects, we believe drilling should be opened on federal lands and offshore permitting enhanced.

Combining efforts would not only offer America an opportunity to become energy independent. It would broaden the menu of services and leave the nation less vulnerable by providing a greater number of energy products and available domestic networks.

According to the American Petroleum Institute, the petroleum industry invested more than $2 trillion in projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives, since the year 2000.

We believe that is a wise approach toward tapping resources for maximum benefit, leaving little room for argument.