The Relationship between the environment and the economy is positive, that is, improving the environment also improves the economy. States with good environments have better economies than those with polluted environments. For example, between 1988 and 1992 the pollution levels in Louisiana were cut in half because industry spent money to reduce its pollution and, at the same time, 25,000 jobs were created in the manufacturing sector alone. The industry spending was for equipment, so local business did better, and workers were hired to operate the equipment.People and business want to locate in clean environments and not in polluted areas. Once here people start new businesses and expand existing ones. By investing in protecting the environment we are investing in the economy and ultimately in the people of Louisiana
Former Secretary of LDEQ
The Relationship between the environment and the economy is positive, that is, improving the environment also improves the economy. States with good environments have better economies than those with polluted environments. For example, between 1988 and 1992 the pollution levels in Louisiana were cut in half because industry spent money to reduce its pollution and, at the same time, 25,000 jobs were created in the manufacturing sector alone. The industry spending was for equipment, so local business did better, and workers were hired to operate the equipment.
People and business want to locate in clean environments and not in polluted areas. Once here people start new businesses and expand existing ones. By investing in protecting the environment we are investing in the economy and ultimately in the people of Louisiana.
Former Secretary of LDEQ
Quality of life is the Key to a Healthy Economy
A Second Paycheck
Good roads and schools, low crime levels, clean environments, a rich local culture – these ingredients make up quality of life. When people live in communities where quality of life is high, they receive a kind of second paycheck, paid not just in dollars but in convenience and civic pride. Hunting, fishing, farming, hiking, bird watching, boating, and camping are all parts of Louisiana’s culture that build quality of life and depend on good environmental quality.
If we build Quality of Life, business will come and stay.
Smart communities know that businesses invest where second paychecks are high. Investors need skilled labor, an environment that enhances their prestige, and dependable government partners. Louisiana has perhaps the richest and most unique culture in the south and yet we often struggle to keep young talent here in state as they pursue the best place to build their careers and livelihoods. Building quality of life builds economic growth and helps Louisiana keep its ambitious young professionals here at home.
Louisiana has an unfortunate history of environmental pollution. Public services are seen as second rate and many feel there is an industry culture resistant to change.
Our economy is focused on attracting smokestack industry, and we do that fairly well. But we could get a larger piece of the economic pie if we changed our priorities and put QUALITY of life at the top. Making Louisiana a clean and safe place to live makes good economic sense for everyone.
Who Says Business as Usual Makes Good Business Sense?
DEBUNKING MYTHS ABOUT LOUISIANA’S ECONOMY
Myth: Overzealous environmentalists cost our state jobs.
In fact, many studies have shown that states with tight environmental controls create more jobs than states with lenient regulatory systems. Industries investing in safety, pollution control and remediation create jobs by utilizing up to date technology and creating a demand for implementing, operating and maintaining efficient, safe and environmentally responsible systems.
Myth: LA industries have eliminated all the pollution they can.
Although Louisiana industries have reduced their emissions in the last 20 years, they still pollute far more than their counterparts in other industrialized states. According to 2009 Toxic Release Inventory data, New Jersey’s manufacturing sector produced 49 pounds of pollution per employee, Texas’s produced 226 pounds per employee, and Louisiana’s produced 778 pounds per employee. The same corporations/industries create emissions in all three states, but the level of environmental enforcement differs. Louisiana doesn’t require corporations to run clean operations here, so they don’t.
Myth: Oil, gas, and chemical industries provide most of the jobs in Louisiana.
The oil, gas, and chemical industries employed about 85,000 people or 5% of the workers in Louisiana. These industries haven’t been a steady source of new jobs in decades.
Myth: Our industrial subsidy program works. Firms that receive tax breaks pay back to the people of Louisiana.
In 2009 alone, approximately $745 million that could have been invested in local schools, roads, and other services was funneled into industrial tax exemptions. Meanwhile, the states budget short falls have led to massive cuts to higher education, a key component to maintaining a well payed, skilled workforce here in Louisiana. Louisiana is the only state that does not give local government a say in granting these exemptions. A state board of commerce and industry makes these decisions.
Myth: Without generous subsidies, industry already in Louisiana will move out of state.
Louisiana’s industries have a good deal here and they know it. Besides enormous tax breaks and low pollution control standards, they have access to the Mississippi River, globally important ports, an extensive pipeline network, and the oil and gas production just off our coast.
Of course, corporations can and do move overseas, but if Louisiana wants to win bidding wars with third world countries, we must act like a third world country ourselves. This means gutting our labor regulations, degrading our unique and fragile environment and sacrificing public health.
Myth: Natural Gas is the fuel for Louisiana’s economic future.
Natural gas production in Louisiana has increased on average 11% per year from 2006 – 2010. However, Louisiana currently faces unexpected budget shortfalls and a multi-year severance tax exemption on new shale gas wells has excluded the state’s depressed budget from much benefit.
“The tired old ‘jobs versus environment’ argument, which Louisiana officials touted in the 1970s, is as outdated as long hair and free love.” – New Orleans Gambit Weekly
Entrepreneurs and Environmentalists:
It’s time to heal the split
Misinformation has divided Louisiana’s business people and environmentalists.
Louisiana is at a turning point. Louisiana is working to diversify its business market and has made great strides in areas such as software development, healthcare, entertainment and film. Entrepreneurs are trying their luck here and its time to make sure they all have a fair shot at success. Why? Because business in the 21st century isn’t about luring smoke stack industries, it’s about creating a high quality of life for everyone. Businesses that provide opportunities here in Louisiana, while operating responsibly and not degrading our environment, build quality of life and help make Louisiana a great place to live. This, in turn, attracts businesses that provide good jobs and diverse opportunities for local economies
Let’s not buy the old rhetoric that pits entrepreneurs against environmentalists.
It’s time to go for the green: economic health AND clean air, water, and land.
-We all want a thriving economy
-We all want good jobs
-We all want the best for our state.
How do we get there?
– Assure a good level of environmental quality. Louisiana’s poor environment record scares off the new investment our economy needs. By enforcing existing regulations and providing the right kind of economic incentives, we will reward law abiding firms and affirm our commitment to healthy communities.
– Revamp our tax incentives program. Each year our industrial tax exemption program takes more than $100 million from state programs such as schools. It gives millions in subsidies to petrochemical conglomerates that provide few local jobs. By changing our tax incentives, we can adequately support our state infrastructure, and attract people and business that truly benefit our community.
– Customize pollution prevention plans for individual businesses. Firms worldwide are saving millions by reworking production processes to avoid pollution before it starts. Given time, technological assistance, and economic incentives, Louisiana businesses can also make higher profits while lowering waste and pollution.
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