Yesterday, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) spoke at a policy briefing on natural gas and energy issues. The oil and gas industry is a large presence in her state and a big contributor to the Louisiana economy. She mentioned that Louisiana is one of the largest producers of natural gas, while also being a big consumer. Senator Landrieu spoke about what she sees as the benefits of natural gas, including the boon to manufacturers, more energy security, and local revenues. She also spoke of the need for more energy efficiency measures in transportation and buildings.
But, she noted, there are challenges that come with the development of these fossil fuels. She spoke about the environmental and community concerns related to drilling and fracking for oil and gas.
Senator Landrieu discussed community concerns about water use and wastewater from fracking, and she said that "there will be cities and there will be places that don’t want drilling rigs in the center of town.......Now this is just common sense…..the industry has to understand that, just like there are industrial zones in some places, and there are commercial zones in other places in our country and there are residential zones, there should be drilling zones and non-drilling zones."
She mentioned the recent fracking ban that passed in Longmont, Colorado, and said: "I would not be so quick to condemn that town for making that decision..…I think that we do have to be sensitive to local land use issues. And if we all find that balance, there’s plenty of land, trust me, in the United States of America there are plenty places that you can drill, you don’t have to drill on every square inch of land in every situation and I think that we have to be a lot smarter about where we drill and how we drill."
Senator Landrieu also highlighted the importance of sharing the revenues from production fairly with local communities and said she would be pushing for revenue sharing in upcoming legislation.
Regarding natural gas export facilities, Senator Landrieu said that local communities should be able to make siting decisions for themselves.