(Shreveport, La.) -- A call to vote Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards out of office, today at what was supposed to be an informative luncheon among oil and gas industry executives.
Things turned political after the president of Louisiana’s Oil and Gas Association stood up for the opening introduction.
After 26 years, Don Briggs is stepping down from his position.
He started his speech by describing how he will spend his newly found spare time – that is by traveling around the state giving more speeches, he says, to tell people that "We cannot take another four years of Governor John Bel Edwards."
"He sent letters to all the coastal parishes, saying, 'Sue the oil industries, sue them all, and if you don't sue them,' he told them, 'I will.'"
Briggs says he blames Edwards for putting thousands of oil and gas industry workers out of jobs.
KTBS-3 reached out to the governor’s office for a response, this is what was sent back:
"What the people of Louisiana cannot take is the deliberate attempt to spread false information in order to further the partisan divide. When Gov. Edwards first took office not only had the price of oil hit rock bottom but the number of oil rigs had as well. In 2017, after his first year we saw a turnaround, some 761 oil/gas drilling permits were issued –the highest level since 2014. Oil prices crashed in mid- 2015 and did not begin to rebound until mid-2016. In 2017, the average number of rigs running per week on state land/waters was about 42 –roughly the equivalent to 2015. In fact, there was an increase in the average weekly rig counts after the lawsuits were filed in 2016. It should also be noted that in 2015 when the price of oil and the number of rigs were high, the parish lawsuits had already been filed two years prior, which further proves that there is no correlation between the lawsuits and the number of drilling permits. As the price of oil has stabilized we have actually seen an increase in oil and gas exploration in Louisiana and expect to see it continue. Mr. Briggs’ inaccurate comments do a disservice to the industry and the people of Louisiana who deserve better."
Briggs’ son, Gifford Briggs, will officially take over as president in March.
He says north Louisiana has seen an uptick in rig activity: over 40 from at least 18 in the past two years.
South Louisiana, on the other hand, is at a historic low rig activity, he says, both inland and in inland waters and Gulf of Mexico. He adds that there are serious job losses in Acadiana and the Lafayette region.