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Blanco lawsuit political ploy costing state plenty

No doubt Louisiana taxpayers will be thrilled to know the state already has thrown away at least $580,000 on the nuisance suit brought by Democrat Gov. Kathleen Blanco against the federal government’s Minerals Management Service. The suit was to delay oil lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico until a revised environmental impact study was done, until a settlement was reached where the federal government said it would do such a study again.

Which, of course, brings Louisiana nothing. The real reason Blanco took this route was to make it appear that she had the ability to bring the state a greater share of royalty monies from oil extraction offshore of Louisiana. But, in reality, the action has no bearing on that topic which is a political sore spot with Blanco, especially since the extremely likely competitor for her job next year, Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal, with others, is closing in on bringing those extra funds to the state, leaving Blanco out in the cold.

So now the Blanco Administration has shifted its rhetoric. It claims as a result of a “proper” study that the federal government will owe some mitigation money. Whether that is the case is, at best, debatable; at worst, unlikely. The simple fact is the activity of drilling and extracting offshore has nothing to do with the onshore environment of the state. Activities related to lease usage may have an impact, but not the actual activity itself.

This is why Blanco and her mouthpieces continue to throw around “proper” in this context. Translation: “We know we don’t have a case but it’s an election year and we need to make Blanco look good, so we’re going to claim that any study that indicates mitigation funds should come our way is ‘proper’ and any other result is ‘improper’ and thus we’ll keep spending as much money as we can get away with no matter how it affects the state because Blanco must get reelected.”

This attitude, of course, has been a hallmark of Blanco’s regime: do primarily what is politically expedient to allow Blanco and her cronies to maintain power and only secondarily do what is best for the state as a whole. To put it in context, the money already spent could have funded home health care for a year for 65 disabled individuals. Instead, it becomes just another pool of money wasted, unfortunately all too typical of the Blanco Administration and of too much state spending in the past.

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