Jane Van Ryan
Posted August 5, 2010
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a billboard covered with thousands of signatures worth?
This billboard, overlooking I-10 in Louisiana, is covered with the signatures of the estimated 11,000 people who attended the Rally for Economic Survival at the Cajundome. Many were energy workers whose jobs are threatened by the drilling moratorium. Others are Gulf Coast residents who support oil patch activities and depend on the energy business for their livelihoods.
At the hearing on drilling safety in New Orleans yesterday, Louisiana Lt. Gov. Scott Angelle delivered an impassioned speech about the moratorium's impact on the Gulf Coast community. "It's about JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!" he said.
"Jobs will be affected not only on the rigs--but also in the service industries--the welders, the fabricators, the diesel mechanics, the pipe fitters, the boat captains, the fork lift operators, the dock workers, the service technicians, the plumbers, the sandblasters, the warehousemen, the carpenters, the janitors, the crane operators, the pump mechanics and the electricians...
"But it won't stop there--the hotel workers, the retail clerks, and the auto mechanics...
"But it won't stop there--restaurant workers, caterers, and the waitresses...
"But it won't stop there--banks and real estate...
"But it won't stop there, local government revenues will be impacted which impacts school teachers, police officers and other vital services.
"They will ALL bear the brunt of the shutdown...This six month moratorium, what the United States federal court system has called arbitrary and capricious, is indeed a moratorium on middle class Americans."
The moratorium was announced by the president in response to the well blowout in the Gulf. Since then, the spill has been stopped, and today BP is pumping cement in the top of the well as part of its strategy to kill it. But the moratorium continues.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.