Thanks for the victories; now give us help

t’s no secret to the people of Louisiana that our land is evaporating into the Gulf of Mexico.

We see it happen every day.

Like sand slowly sifting through a giant hourglass, we lose football fields daily to coastal erosion.

Those football fields, of course, over time become acres.

Those acres grow and become miles – hundreds and hundreds of miles washed away never to be seen again.

To us, it’s a big deal, because we’re living it.

But to folks outside of the state, the issues are foreign, and many people don’t even realize the plight that our state faces on a day-to-day basis.

That’s why State Rep. Steve Scalise, R-New Orleans, did a great thing this week in gathering several of the nation’s leading lawmakers and taking them to Port Fourchon for a tour of the nation’s energy hub and its operations.

The leaders visited an oil rig, getting a first-hand look at the industry and how its energy is created.

Next, they got in a helicopter and took an aerial tour of the local port, which is the home of billions of dollars worth of oil and gas projects each year.

On that tour, the lawmakers saw work being done, projects being built and all of the things that go along with the oil and gas industry.

But what they didn’t know is the information that was given to them after the tour and during the final stop of the day – a roundtable discussion with some of the area’s business leaders.

It was during this roundtable that industry leaders brought up the topic of erosion – specifically how saltwater intrusion is eating and demolishing our marshlands by the minute.

During that round-table, the lawmakers saw it all come full-circle and hit close to home.

Finally, they were able to realize and grasp just how real the problem is.

“Wait a minute. That was land at one time?” Jody Hice, R-Georgia asked a citizen, while pointing off to a pond of saltwater just outside of the port’s doors – an area that was the victim of erosion’s wrath.

“Yes,” said the middle-aged man approximately in his 50s. “When I was a child, what you saw there was grass. Today, it’s gone. You want to see more? Just look around.”

“Wow,” Hice chimed back. “It really makes it hit home. I didn’t realize just how big of an issue that is to your people.”

Hice’s statements are 100 percent why our state’s erosion issues have gotten as far along as they have – it’s a silent killer.

It’s not talked about on the news, and when it is, nine times out of 10, it’s just a piece that’s preaching to the choir.

We know it’s a problem, and so do our local lawmakers.

But because a lot of the land is uninhabited, people outside of the area disregard it as being a problem that will have large-scale issues to our people.

That stigma is why Thursday’s trip was so vital to our sustainability, and we applaud Scalise for recruiting his colleagues together and bringing them into his backyard for a day visiting our coast.

It was also good to hear local lawmakers talk about the oil and gas industry’s future, which seems to be pretty bright.

The panel all said they support drilling, and will do anything in their power to bring jobs to the industry, because they know how important it is to the South.

To hear lawmakers from Ohio, Washington and New York talk about the industry in that light was promising, because it’s an opinion that isn’t often popularly held in those parts of the world.

But, of course, the problem with talk is that it’s cheap, so the burden is now on the gentlemen involved in Scalise’s party to remember what they saw in our state when voting in Washington.

Actions speak louder than words ever could, and everyone involved saw first-hand exactly how much help our state can use – both now and into the future.

Thanks for the visit, guys.

Feel free to come back anytime.

But don’t forget about the things that you saw when you were here. •