LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) The president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association says the claim that taxpayers are paying to cleanup abandoned oil wells is an absolute ‘falsehood’.
Mike Moncla explains the cost of plugging orphan oil wells is paid by every oil company producing oil in Louisiana every month.
On Monday, Retired Lt. General Russell Honore’ held a town hall meeting in Lafayette in addition to rallying outside a golf outing for oil company executives.
He said taxpayers should not have to pay for abandoned oil wells saying its the responsibility of oil companies.
“His assertion that taxpayer dollars are paying for orphan wells is an absolute falsehood,” Moncla clarified.
Moncla says oil producers are charged a severance tax and fee each month and that the collected money goes into an Oilfield Site Restoration (OSR) program.
Moncla figures the OSR fund collects $10 to $12 million per year for orphan oil well projects.
“If you mess something up, then you cleanup behind yourself,” Honore’ stated during the town hall gathering.
Moncla says there are situations where companies have filed for example bankruptcy and are no longer in business.
Moncla accuses Honore’ and the group he represents of spreading hate.
According to General Honore’s GreenARMY website, Honore’ is the founder of an environmental support organization called the GreenARMY.
A description of The GreenARMY explains the organization was formed after a devastating 30-acre sinkhole forced hundreds of residents from Bayou Corne, Louisiana from their homes.
Moncla talks about his stance on Honore’s message.
“Their soundbites and agenda, that’s just how they go about spewing hate. Who are they? The group you’re mentioning. I don’t even know what group he’s with or whatever group he’s with; that’s what they do. They don’t talk about solutions. They just talk about throwing hate around with their soundbites and their agenda, then they get in their gasoline cars and drive-off.”
Plus, the oil industry is somewhat controlled by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization or cartel of 13 countries that coordinates and unifies petroleum policies of its Member Countries.
“A thousand companies went bankrupt over the last seven years of this downturn. No company goes into business thinking I can’t wait to go bankrupt one day,” Moncla stated.
Moncla adds that for next legislative session, LOGA hopes to have something to address the situation.
Moncla says he has not been made aware of any money for LOGA from the infrastructure bill passed by congress.
Moncla explains that if governmental support is offered, LOGA will gladly accept.
Furthermore, Moncla says he’s confident any amount offered to LOGA will not be anywhere near the amount wind and solar farms receive in subsidies.