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Story Archives: Landrieu's influence
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Two recent developments in Washington that could negatively impact Louisiana reminded us of Sen. Mary Landrieu, the state's senior senator.
Earlier this week, Gov. Bobby Jindal and members of the state's congressional delegation gathered in Avondale to bemoan the fact that Avondale Shipyards -- employer of thousands of people in southeastern Louisiana, directly and indirectly -- could cease to exist as we know it today because the U.S. Navy has plans to scuttle a shipbuilding project, which has fueled the demand for Avondale Shipyards' services for years. The news got worse Wednesday when the company that builds ships for the Navy at Avondale announced it would close its operations there. Northrop Grumman's decision was anticipated, but Jindal and the state's congressional delegation had hoped to extend Northrop Grumman's presence at Avondale through 2015.
Also earlier this week, the Interior Department unveiled a revised moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The new moratorium was rolled out in spite of pending litigation related to the matter before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
A few weeks ago, a U.S. District Court judge in New Orleans ruled that a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling ordered by the Interior Department in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon accident should be set aside because the moratorium was arbitrary. Not happy with Judge Martin Feldman's ruling, the government appealed to the 5th Circuit where a three-judge panel sided with Feldman. A hearing before the full 5th Circuit is pending.
That the Interior Department would order a new moratorium on deepwater drilling while it does battle with the oil industry and the state of Louisiana over a prior moratorium confirmed what we suspected long ago -- the Obama administration could care less if its policies reek havoc in Louisiana and for an industry that plays a vital role in Louisiana's economy. The same could be said for the Navy's plans to bail on Avondale Shipyards.
That brings us back to Landrieu, a Democrat whose party controls the White House and the Congress.
Two years ago when Landrieu was a candidate for re-election against state Treasurer John Kennedy, we were told by candidate Landrieu that it was imperative to re-elect her because of her seniority in the Senate. She said her seniority was a plus for Louisiana, meaning she would possess a significant amount of influence on Capitol Hill and beyond.
That made some sense at the time, especially since it was obvious in the fall of 2008 that Barack Obama would be elected president and Democrats would maintain control of the Congress. Accordingly, it was anticipated that Landrieu would be in a position to protect Louisiana's interests in spite of Louisiana's support for then-presidential candidate John McCain, the Republican nominee in the 2008 presidential race.
We suppose we overlooked two things.
No. 1, Landrieu's influence in Washington has been overstated, and No. 2, the Obama administration's attitude toward the Gulf Coast, including Louisiana, is outright confrontational.
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