Persistent demand, high prices and technological advances have resulted in an increased number of permits being issued to oil and gas companies this year, according to data complied by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. Through September of this year, the state has issued 1,624 permits.
It's a far cry from the 7,631 permits issued in 1984, during one of Louisiana's fabled boom periods, but officials are confident the three remaining months of 2006 will yield unparalleled activity. There were 222 permits issued in June, which is the highest monthly total the state has seen since 1988. All of this activity seems to be concentrated in a certain region. "It looks like this is going to be another record year, and it's all thanks to north Louisiana," says Jim Welsh, the state's commissioner of conservation.
"The price of natural gas is a major reason why we're seeing this [activity], but it's not the only reason," Welsh adds. New advances in drilling technology are allowing companies to drill deeper than ever before, and they're taking those techniques back into north Louisiana to tap previously non-performing wells. "It's just amazing what they're finding out there," he says. He says the ongoing trend of increased permitting should be sustained in coming years by a few of the same factors bolstering the industry today. "As technology continues to advance, we'll keep finding oil," Welsh says. "No question." ' Jeremy Alford
ADVERTISER PUBLISHER: NO TIME "TO THINK ABOUT THE NEWS"
"This is how big the money pressures are. I don't have time to think about the news because I'm worried about the money. I don't have time to think about who should be elected. OK?"
In a recent episode of LPB's program Louisiana Public Square, that's how The Daily Advertiser's publisher, Ted Power, responded to a roundtable participant who expressed concern over the control of local media by national corporations. The topic of the episode was "Consuming Media," focusing on media and media literacy.
At one point, when host and moderator Craig Freeman attempted to bring the discussion back to "profits trumping the news" for corporations, Power interrupted with this comment: "Profits aren't trumping news values. Profits are shaping what we cover, in a newspaper's point of view, as far as geography. The values are the same." ' R. Reese Fuller
FIBER BATTLE GETS MAJOR AIRTIME ON NATIONAL TELEVISION
Lafayette received major airtime in Bill Moyers' "The Net at Risk" report last week on PBS. While the crux of the show was the "Net Neutrality" battle ' where giant telecom and cable companies are spending massive amounts of lobbying money to try and kickstart legislation aimed at charging companies and consumers on a sliding scale for internet activity ' it also shone the spotlight on Lafayette's fight for LUS' fiber-to-the-home project.
City-Parish President Joey Durel, LUS director Terry Huval and a number of principals of the Lafayette Coming Together pro-fiber community activist group (Don Bertrand, Stephen Handwerk, Gob Williams, Layne St. Julien) all got airtime and made reasoned, strong arguments for LUS' fiber-to-the-home program. Huval was particularly compelling and detailed the all-out efforts of Cox Communications and BellSouth to derail the project. The most telling moment came in one sentence: when the reporter on the piece said, "Cox Communications and BellSouth declined to speak with us." Why didn't two nationally known companies defend their actions in Lafayette and promote their alternative plans on a national television forum? It doesn't take much reading between the lines to answer that question. ' Scott Jordan
BRIDGE LOANS EXPANDED
The state has gradually been offering gap financing to hurricane-affected businesses over the past year, but earlier this month seven private banks were brought into the fold. In concert with federal money, the program now has more money available than what it has distributed in total since Katrina made landfall. Gov. Kathleen Blanco says she has committed $332.5 million in Community Development Block Grant funds to economic recovery, but only $55 million is ready to be rolled out. As other dollars are freed up in coming months, Blanco says more programs will be announced.
But for now, a new series of bridge loans are up for grabs with individual caps of $100,000. To avoid causing controversy, half of the related program's funds will be dedicated solely to hurricane-affected areas. "Many of our business owners still need capital to move their companies and Louisiana's economy forward," Blanco says. "This third phase of the Bridge Loan program continues to put cash into the hands of businesses working toward recovery." To date, the state has issued nearly $40 million in short-term, low-interest loans to small businesses. ' JA
PRESIDENT BUSH WAFFLES ON FEMA DIRECTOR REQUIREMENTS
After its tragically inept response to Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency clearly showed it was in need of a drastic overhaul. A reasonable No. 1 priority was ensuring that no one like Michael Brown ' a political appointment with no emergency management skills ' would ever be put in charge of FEMA again. So it was good news when President Bush recently signed a bill last week that allowed Congress to set higher job-qualification standards for FEMA directors, right? After all, Bush himself said the bill was "an important piece of legislation that will highlight our government's highest responsibility, and that's to protect the American people." He added that the bill "will also help our government better respond to emergencies and natural disasters by strengthening the capabilities of the Federal Emergency Management Agency."
There's only one problem: hours after he signed the bill, Bush quietly issued a signing statement saying he could ignore the new restrictions. Why bother touting the legislation if you're going to immediately neuter the heart of it? ' SJ
REBUILDING OUR HERITAGE
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.