Louisiana as Petro-State

Here is an interesting take on the role of oil companies in Louisiana:

Long before the oil spill, [Louisiana]’s embrace of the petroleum industry cast it under what economists call “the resource curse”: the paradox that countries rich in minerals or petroleum tend to grow more slowly and have lower living standards than other nations. Simply put, Louisiana is the closest thing America has to a petro-state.

Instead of blessing Louisiana with prosperity, the oil industry fostered dependency, corruption and an indifference to environmental damage. Our Cajun sheikdom’s oil and gas riches — like those of the Niger Delta, the Orinoco belt in Venezuela and the Iraqi marshes — also stunted its development, leaving it far behind states with fewer natural resources. . . . “We’ve always been a plantation state,” said Oliver Houck, an environmental law professor at Tulane University. “What oil and gas did is replace the agricultural plantation culture with an oil and gas plantation culture.”

Just as plantation culture had an impact in Texas, it appears to leave a lingering legacy in Louisiana as well. When many judges and scientists appear to be dependent on an industry, accountability is a long way off.

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