Bill unfair to Louisiana

Louisiana is known as a sportsman’s paradise.

Our vibrant coast and bountiful wildlife make this region a haven for fans of the great outdoors.

Louisiana is also known for tourism. Our great food, unique celebrations and virtually year-round summer help draw tourists to the region 12 months of the year.

Of late, Louisiana is known for its rebuilding.

The 2005 hurricane season laid the southernmost and western coast of the state low. But with the same determination displayed by our Cajun ancestors, residents continue to rebuild a better state from the ground up.

What Louisiana is not generally known for is its breeze. Our only steady wind, excluding hurricanes, is limited to past legislative sessions in Baton Rouge.

So it came as a bit of a shock to learn that some in Congress would essentially penalize energy consumers because the state may not be able to meet a mandate favoring wind and solar energy resources.

A proposal to tax the oil and gas industry and issue a mandate for utilities to use more wind and solar-generated electricity has been met with resistance in Washington, D.C. The package was approved by the House Thursday. Not all agree with the plan, including U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, who voted against it.

The House plan would impose $13.5 billion in taxes on the five largest oil companies. It is part of a $21 billion tax package that the Senate is haggling over.

Melancon argued that the measure would hurt Louisiana’s oil and gas industry, costing jobs at a time when the state is continuing to rebuild our coast. Hiking the tax, he argues, will not affect our energy consumption. It will just likely result in higher costs.

Likewise, a requirement that Louisiana derive 15 percent of its electrical power from wind and solar resources is unfair and possibly unachievable, he said, adding Congress’ one-size-fits-all energy standard sets Louisiana up for failure. Utility companies that fail to meet the mandate would be required to buy renewable energy credits from other regions, again more likely resulting in price hikes.

No question, going green is going to cost us some green. But at a time when Louisiana is finally poised to collect on our share of offshore drilling, is taxing oil companies and going after virtually breezeless states the best we can do?