Louisiana pushes for more oil drilling

April 19, 2011 at 11:23 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 19 (UPI) -- A full year after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Louisiana politicians are outraged at the federal drilling moratorium.

"Within days of the disaster -- when oil was still gushing into the gulf -- Barack Obama and his environmental extremist allies began using the tragedy to try to advance their anti-drilling agenda," Sen. David Vitter, R-La., told the New Orleans Times-Picayune Tuesday.

State officials are quick to blame oil giant BP but say the rest of the industry and its employees should not pay the price.

"They're probably reading their constituency pretty well," said Louisiana State University political scientist Kirby Goidel, whose Louisiana Survey found during the crisis that "people saw it as a BP problem; they didn't see it as an oil and gas industry problem."

Vitter and Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., are among the biggest recipients of campaign funds from oil and gas interests.

The industry also backed freshman Rep. Jeff Landry, R-La., who said, "the insinuation that we are in bed with the oil and gas industry is absurd. Right now, the people we are in bed with are middle-class Americans who are paying $5 a gallon for gas."

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