Two leading officials in the Energy and Interior Departments have gotten their first look at the oil production facilities along the Louisiana coast. They got a bird’s eye view of the energy facilities at work, and the threat they face from coastal erosion.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Deputy Interior Secretary Mike Connor met with business leaders in New Orleans. The meeting is part of a national drive led by the White House to compile an energy policy. They focused the New Orleans session on petroleum transmission, storage and distribution.
US Senator Mary Landrieu, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, arranged a helicopter tour of the coast, and tours of Port Fourchon and New Iberia.
Secretary Moniz says he welcomed a chance to study how to protect an industry and the coastal wetlands vital to its protection.
“We are going to be looking at that spectrum of coastal restoration through the infrastructure — to understand, first of all, the scale of the infrastructure, and what the challenges are going forward," Moniz said.
Deputy Secretary Connor says coastal restoration has national attention.
“We’ve got to do that right, because I think the rest of the country is depending on the lessons that we have learned here in the Gulf," Connor said. "So it’s a very important part of our portfolio at the Interior Department and, overall, I think for the federal government.”
Moniz — in office one year this month — told reporters after the tour that it was an “eye-opening” experience.