IBERIA PARISH, La. (KLFY) – The Iberia Parish Council passed a resolution at Wednesday’s meeting, in support of resuming federal off-shore leasing in the Gulf of Mexico. The council wants everyone to know, especially elected leaders in Washington, D.C., this is the lifeblood of Acadiana’s economy.
“”In Iberia Parish, the oil and gas industry was the number one revenue generator. It has been for decades,” said M. Larry Richard, president of Iberia Parish. “It’s a big deal for the parish, and it still is, if we can get it back.”
The Biden administration put a hold on all lease sales earlier this year. Louisiana, and several other states, the challenged the president’s moratorium in federal court. A federal judge ordered an injunction. Since then, the U.S. Government has appealed the order, and it is currently under consideration. The Department of the Interior, which runs the oil and gas land lease program, recently told congress that there was still a hold in place. The states then filed a contempt of court brief against the feds. Shortly thereafter, one lease in the Gulf was approved.
“What I would like to see is for us to get back to production. Where we have drilling work in the Gulf of Mexico. We have production companies doing more and more in the United States, in the Gulf, employing our people,” said Richard.
Richard says before 2016, the parish was getting anywhere from $4 million to $7 million in royalty funds from oil and gas each year. However, the industry has been under attack, and the parish only received $300,000 last year.
“We used to have 62 people working in our public works department. A lot of those people were paid with royalty funds. Currently, we have 30 people working. Not all of it was due to royalty funds decline, but a lot of it is,” said Richard.
Richard hopes the industry will bounce back, to like it was in the days when business was booming in Iberia Parish.