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Drilling controversy invites lawmaker clarification

Finally, the right thing was done. But was it done for the right reason?

Yesterday, the Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed that it would not take another look at its decision nearly two weeks ago not to review lower court rulings dealing with whether St. Tammany Parish zoning laws could overrule a land use decision made at the state level. This involved drilling an exploratory well that in the future could lead to the use of the hydraulic fracturing technique that has become controversial through sensationalized opposition to it. As soon as the company had word of the declination, it spudded in.

Of considerable amusement over this two-years-plus odyssey has been the reaction of a vocal minority of St. Tammany residents, some of whom drew upon every imaginable discredited allegation against the practice of fracking to argue why it never should happen. In this time, science has settled with even more certainty that, as long as drillers follow safety protocols, the process does not cause any realistic danger (including the overblown assertion that they cause meaningful earthquakes, although the less common practice of injecting wastewater into deep wells, which can be regulated against, is theorized as a potential cause of these).


Edwards launches deceitful propaganda campaign

Seems Gov. John Bel Edwards and his Administration’s campaign of employing the Goebbels Principle to create a distorted view of the Democrat’s first six months in office could not wait for the launching of its formal tour.

Both Edwards the organ grinder and his monkey sidekick Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne laid on the balloon juice thick and fast in the past couple of days: Edwards through a series of poison pen letters-to-the-editor and Dardenne in comments when sought out by the media in response to cogent remarks about the recently-concluded legislative sessions made by Treasurer John Kennedy, also a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Kennedy noted in an address that state spending in the budget had escalated by about a third in just six years, fueled by $2.4 billion in higher taxes – all approved by Edwards as a legislator and governor.

Dardenne in response said while the budget Edwards recommended that largely made its way into to law was the largest since those of the previous decade that were inflated by disaster recovery spending, the current effort he alleged represented a more honest look at revenues and expenditures. Yet examining that claim more closely shows a good bit of dishonesty unto itself.


New bridge promise ploy to aid Edwards, allies

The announcement that Louisiana’s state government intends rather than to rehabilitate to build a new Jimmie Davis Highway Bridge over the Red River stirs more questions than answers where politics may interfere with sensible use of taxpayer dollars.

Apparently, barn swallows triggered this change in direction. The federally-protected species insists on building nests on the sides under bridge decking and delayed the project two years while everybody involved figured out how to chase them away. Last month, both the state and contractor gave up, leaving motorists to wonder just how much longer the bridge would remain safe to use.

Then last week, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards dramatically announced that instead he would seek to reallocate the existing $23.4 million in funding for the fixup to a new span. For years denizens particularly in Bossier City dreamed of four lanes crossing, and plans have floated to build another span. Mayor Lo Walker, referring to numbers of at least a decade ago, estimated the cost of that at $60-80 million. Apparently, the $14 million or so in federal funding could transfer over to kick start the process, and state Sen. Barrow Peacock, who always has preferred a new span over redoing the old one, cleverly inserted language to speed up the process in case the state went for new over refurbish.


Edwards launches taxpayer-funded excuse tour

Seems that Gov. John Bel Edwards plans to launch an apology/blame tour now that he took some knocks in his first legislative sessions as governor. As we might expect, not much of what follows from it should we believe -- even if we pay for it.

Edwards, along with his new best friend forever Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, look to invade legislators’ hometowns over the next two weeks to spin what happened in the regular session sandwiched by two special sessions. What happened was when comparing the state’s baseline spending – ranked 18th per capita among the states – to expected revenues Louisiana would come up way short in the upcoming fiscal year, and over the course of these sessions taxes went up $1.5 billion (after hikes of $800 million last year), general fund spending increased $800 million or 10 percent, and total spending escalated $2 billion or 8 percent.

Yet somehow that wasn’t enough for Democrat Edwards, who feuded with Republicans, particularly in the House, over raising taxes that left him more than $300 million less than he wanted. So prepare ourselves for the litany of excuses and red herrings to come from him an attempt to warp the reality of the matter.