Daily Video

June 7, 2010

Louisiana Residents Wary of Drilling Moratorium

After the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and began spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama announced that all new U.S. offshore oil drilling ventures would stop until the accident had been investigated. Many residents along the Louisiana coast are afraid that the new offshore drilling ban will affect their livelihoods, since the oil industry accounts for 17% of all jobs in the state.

There are already about 5,000 oil and gas drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico that send their products to refineries and processing plants along the coast through miles of underwater pipelines. Louisiana’s LaFourche parish, with a population of 90,000, is a major hub for the oil and gas industry. Oil and companies claim that thousands of jobs in the region could be lost if the ban on new offshore drilling continues.

Even fishermen who can no longer fish because of the spill advocate for offshore drilling, since many of them work for the oil industry during the offseason. The spill has already cost Louisiana billions of dollars in lost income because fishing, tourism and seafood operations have all stopped or slowed down. For many residents, the oil and gas industry, and the jobs it offers, is all they have left.

Quotes

“I’m not saying that the spill isn’t an awful event, and it isn’t going to impact our communities. We live in Louisiana. We want to make sure that the water that we go and fish in and have recreational activities in is safe. And we don’t enjoy the fact that there’s pollution. But we also don’t want to see an entire industry killed off as a knee-jerk reaction to that.” – Neal Ryan, oil executive

“We feel like we have lived with oil and gas industry most of our lives. We now have one of the biggest ports, one of the most important ports in the nation, and certainly the hub for oil and gas here in the Gulf of Mexico.” – Brennan Matherne, LaFourche Parish, Louisiana

“It would be like if you have a plane crash. You can’t shut down the whole industry just because one plane crashes.” – Gene Hemand, marine repairman

Warm Up Questions

1. What do people use oil and gas for?

2. How are oil and gas extracted from the ground?

3. How has the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico affected the way you think about America’s use of fossil fuels such as oil?

Discussion Questions

1. How does where you live affect the way you see an environmental disaster such as the Gulf oil spill?

2. If you were a fisherman in Louisiana, how might you feel about the oil industry? Why?

3. The marine repairman in the video compared the oil spill to a plane crash and said “you can’t shut down the whole industry just because one plane crashes.” Do you agree with that statement? Why or why not?

4. Do you agree with President Obama’s ban on new offshore drilling? Why or why not?

Additional Resources

Video Transcript

Lesson Plan

Largest Oil Spill in U.S. History Continues Despite Efforts to Stop the Leak

Louisiana Students Weigh In On Oil Spill’s Impact

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