Letter: Nat Gas Act a bad idea

The elections are over, and the Republican Party continues to face an identity crisis — a crisis created by the Republican candidates continually promising conservative voters an end to big government and crony capitalism.

The truth is the GOP is filled with establishment officials who, after Election Day is over, support programs contrary to their promises. A recent example is a number of newspaper articles quoting a couple of our Louisiana congressmen praising the merits of the Natutal Gas Act.

These “conservative” congressmen claim passage of this legislation would transform our transportation system to natural gas and bring about an energy boom, creating thousands of jobs in the process. On its face, it sounds wonderful and many Republican politicians are embracing the idea.

But therein lies the problem. The same establishment Republicans rightfully condemn President Barack Obama’s green energy crony capitalism but hypocritically support picking winners and losers in the conventional energy business.

To have GOP congressmen boast principles of free-market solutions one minute, then advocate government intervention in the market the next, lacks credibility. So why do Republicans support this type of legislation? Who really benefits from it? Simply put: campaign contributions and people like T-Boone Pickens.

Passage of the Natural Gas Act would be a financial windfall for Pickens, but it would be a disaster for our economy. The legislation requires you — the taxpayer — to subsidize the natural gas transformation at the cost of more than $100 billion. And it disregards the huge investments made by private companies like Sasol and Shell, who are risking billions of dollars to expand their Louisiana refineries to turn natural gas into a diesel fuel that doesn’t require the type of massive transformation of infrastructure that these politicians are proposing.

Yet, these congressmen would jeopardize that technology and the thousands of Louisiana jobs it creates in return for campaign cash from T-Boone Pickens.

With rapidly evolving technologies, our Louisiana congressmen should be careful about choosing competing technologies with taxpayer money. The president proved this to be wasteful and counterproductive with Solyndra and his other miserably failed green technology investments. Rather, they should embrace market-based solutions that will bring billions in investment and thousands of jobs right here without government subsidy.

After all, you can’t be a part of the solution when you’re part of the problem. To say otherwise is the definition of identity crisis.

Jeff Landry

former U.S. representative

New Iberia