Why The Race For Parish President Is About So Much More Than Fracking

by Timothy Achan Gates, Correspondent

Faimon A. Roberts III of The Advocate writes that fracking is the lead issue in the St. Tammany Parish President race. It is one of the bigger economic debates to appear locally in this writer’s recent memory, with no qualms about expressing opposition to the project.

Fracking is less a partisan debate than Rep. Steve Scalise would like to pretend; V.P. Joe Biden’s son Hunter oversaw hydraulic fracturing operations in the Ukraine while a governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, was the first Republican governor to ban fracking statewide.

Fracking, an increasingly controversial practice of oil and gas extraction labeled as economic development, is a symptom of a larger problem: the manipulation of Constitutional Law to the benefit of the manipulators.

The Constitution is meant as a safeguard for the citizenry. However, it doesn’t matter what laws are in place when there are legislators willing and able to circumvent said laws for personal gain, and that of political allies. Add large amounts of money from the lobbyists sponsoring the changes, and suddenly the law is unconstitutional.

Conflicts of interest among our elected officials routinely keep them in their positions due to the flow of money established by said conflicts. For example, Rep. Tim Burns is Vice President and General Counsel of Florida Marine, the transport company associated with the fleet of tugboats owned by St. Tammany Parish through Economic Development Foundation revenue bonds.

He's just a bill.
He’s just a bill.

Rep. Burns submitted legislation that provides specific exception to State of Louisiana Ethics Laws for the St. Tammany Parish Economic Development Foundation. The public is told that with regard to fracking, it is a State Law issue, and therefore should be addressed at the State level. This writer’s question is, if they can write legislation to circumvent State Law with regard to Ethics, why can’t they write legislation to circumvent State Oil & Gas Laws?

This is the type of question that should be answered by the current office holders looking to keep their office, rather than their overplayed stance on fracking. If the Federal Government followed its own laws, fracking would not even exist in its current form.

A Thank You to The Advocate, for letting me know what the most important issue is in this race. If only it were that simple. In the meantime, I’m going to send a message to the EDF and request some quasi-public documents while I wait for a response to the question above.

Contact Timothy:  covweekly@gmail.com