Louisiana has been commonly known as an oil field state. Everyone who is reading this article and has spent a considerable amount of time in Louisiana understands that the oil industry is the backbone of our state. Without oil, we don't go to restaurants, we don't buy clothes or trucks or practically anything that stimulates our economy.
President Joseph Biden's first day in office was eventful, with one of his biggest changes being the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, that runs from the border of Canada down to Port Arthur in Texas near the border of Louisiana. 1,171 miles of pure pipeline, functioning to release our dependence on middle eastern countries for our oil supply, as well as provide jobs all around the country.
So, what's the catch? Any development this large, across interstate lines will present issues for environmentalists, but there are deeper issues at play, economically and socially.
For years, Louisiana has had oil as its mainstay, but is that good for the state as a whole? We've all known someone in the oil field, but we also likely all know someone who has been laid off from it.
When that part of our economy slows, we all lose. That ebb and flow results in our economy being entirely dependent on one stream of income, never a wise choice for a state.
There are other reasons this pipeline may be an issue. There's Native American rights, there's environmental concerns and a host of other problems that can present itself.
We not only need to take those into account, but also understand that changing into a state that has a more reliable economy will be tough. It's going to be one of the hardest transition periods in Louisiana history, but one that I personally believe will be to our benefit.
There's a right choice to be made here, and as much as many people in Louisiana are disappointed about the closing of the pipeline, this may serve as an excellent turning point for our economy.
My grandfather was a roughneck for a lot of his life, got promoted and made better money, and made an entirely different life for his poor family. The oil field and the money it provides changes the lives of our residents. For better or worse, it has a significant impact, an impact that can't be replaced quickly and easily.
Though, this may be the time in our history to consider a new frontier. Something that can offer us a more consistent and steady income stream, and function as a long-lasting part of our economy.
What is that? I don't know, which is why I think the decision to close the pipeline was too hastily done. It's poor form for a president to first reverse everything the previous president did, but it's quickly becoming tradition.
So my advice, as a young person in Louisiana, is that this is going to happen anyways. You are in control of where this economy will go, so let's start thinking differently about what this state may want.
The oil field will eventually dry, and we will find a newer and more renewable energy resource. When that happens, I don't want this state to be in a situation where we have nothing. It'll take a cultural shift starting with you, before it'll ever take place across the state.
If you're from an oil field family, don't discount the new president yet. If you're a fan of renewable energy, remember that people depend on this for their living. Yes we should change the way we do things, but it won't happen fast and it won't be easy. Let's keep calm for at least the first hundred days, shall we?