Gifford Briggs, acting president, Louisiana Oil and Gas Association

It’s that time of year again, where we all make plans to enrich our lives—to become healthier, wealthier and wiser. For some, it may be just as simple as wanting to shed a couple of those holiday pounds added around the belt.

Regardless of the resolution, the emergence of the New Year is time for a fresh start and an opportunity to make positive changes in our own lives.

Along with our personal resolutions and new beginnings, we, the American people, voted for a fresh start and a determination to “Make America Great Again.” Like it or not, this resolution includes plans to peel back the layers of red tape that have choked out the American dream, repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, build a wall to secure our southern border, and unleash America’s energy industry to relieve us of our energy dependence.

But what about Louisiana? What will we do to ensure that our state is in a better posture than previous years? What should be our New Year’s resolution for Louisiana’s oil and gas industry?

The first resolution that Louisiana and its leaders must make is to put an end to the abuse of its judicial system—more specifically, to put a stop to the coastal and legacy lawsuits.

These lawsuits are discouraging future investment in the state, subjecting many past and present energy producers to significant and unnecessary legal obstacles. These lawsuits—unheard of in other states—have turned Louisiana into a litigious hell-hole. The abuse is costing many hardworking men and women their jobs and ultimately making it harder for our citizens to keep the lights on.

Secondly, both our federal and state elected leaders must prioritize Louisiana’s exporting sector. Louisiana is strategically positioned to become the outright leader in the United States for energy exportations.

With the expansion of the Sabine Pass and the first phase of construction of Port Cameron set to be completed later this year, it is a resolution and goal that can and must be achieved for Louisiana’s ultimate benefit.

Lastly, we must reverse new regulations released from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, requiring that all exploration and production companies in a lease must have 100% of the cash to plug, abandon and decommission gas projects on the U.S. outer continental shelf.

If low and volatile global prices weren’t enough of a burden on these small independent companies, the administration comes down with another layer of red tape before they leave office. This rule will not only be detrimental to Louisiana, but also the entire country. Our federal leaders must hold this next administration accountable to stopping the unnecessary and harmful regulations killing our industry.

If you live in Louisiana, no matter what your profession, you are tied to the oil and gas industry one way or another. These New Year’s resolutions will help our state get off on the right foot, paving the way for continued growth and improvement. It is critical that we fight for our industry, and this New Year is the perfect time to start.

Gifford Briggs is the acting president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association.

Originally published in the first quarter 2017 edition of 10/12 Industry Report