Louisiana Port Operator Pleased With Dismissal of Drilling Moratorium

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," June 22, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: His name is Richard Lazarus, just added to the president’s BP commission hours ago. He’s an expert in environmental law. In case you’re counting, that makes eight members total, and not a one with drilling experience, a lot of environmental professors and the like in there, but again not an oil person.

Chett Chiasson is the executive director of Port Fourchon in Louisiana. He’s worried about this.

What do you make of this breakdown, Chett, thus far?

CHETT CHIASSON, PORT FOURCHON, LOUISIANA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well, the people that are on this commission, we’re very concerned with.

There’s — as you said, there’s no one that’s in drilling that is on the commission. So, we’re not confident that they can really come up with the right answers for the industry.

CAVUTO: Maybe it’s a moot point, though, Chett. You heard about this judge who effectively, you know, slapped down the moratorium.

Obviously, the administration’s appealing it. But we’re told — and maybe you will know better than we — that a number of shippers have indeed already gone out into the Gulf to resume drilling activities. Is that true and what do you make of that?

CHIASSON: Well, we have not heard that, that a number of these rigs are back going online to do drilling. But it is certainly a happy day today here in Port Fourchon. And we’re certainly pleased with the judge’s — his opinion. And we think it’s the right one.

And it’s important to us. Port Fourchon services 90 percent of all the deepwater activity in the Gulf of Mexico, and all 33 of these rigs, these wells that were stopped by this moratorium, are serviced out of Port Fourchon. So, it has a direct impact on our business. And we’re certainly pleased, as I said before, with the decision and hopefully we can get back to business as usual.

CAVUTO: Chett, maybe you can clear this up, frankly, because I’m confused. If, for example, this judge’s ruling holds and the moratorium is lifted, how soon can those in the area hire laid-off workers? How quickly can they act on that?

CHIASSON: Well, I can tell you this.

Fortunately, not too many people have been laid off in this area. These companies import, and the drilling companies have tried to hang on as much as they could to keep their employees. Certainly, some have been laid off, but they tried to maintain that.

And with this news today, hopefully, we can maintain all employment here in the area and in the drilling rig — on the drilling rigs.

CAVUTO: Chett, was it there understanding, is it your understanding that who ever is hurt by this moratorium, BP is to make good and handle their cost or losses?

CHIASSON: Actually, we’re not confident in that.

I actually believe that BP should not be hampered with having to pay for things that were caused by the federal government’s moratorium. They certainly have caused the oil spill, and they’re responsible to the fishing industry and to clean up the oil spill. But if the moratorium caused anyone to lose their jobs, I certainly don’t believe that it’s BP’s problem. I think it’s the federal government’s problem to deal with.

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