A natural gas rig protrudes from the waters ahead as Justin Solet points to his foot on the edge of his boat. As a shrimp boat floated past and markers for crab traps bobbed on the water's surface, a web of pipes and tanks jutted up from the marsh behind him.
The United Houma Nation is a Native community with many shrimpers, oyster farmers and crab fishers who depend on the Gulf of Mexico's bounty. This is their main source of income. It is right next to the tanks that have not been fixed or serviced in a long time.
The fishing industry in the Gulf is being threatened by oil and gas wells. There have been a number of less-noticed oil spills. On the first day of Louisiana's inshore shrimp season, a tank platform collapsed and poured 14,000 gallons of water into Terrebonne Bay.
There could be more drilling on the way.
The federal government will lease hundreds of millions more acres for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in the next decade, even as it invests $370 billion to move the country away from fossil fuels and develop wind, solar and other renewable energy.
More Gulf leasing was one of the concessions that Democrats and President Biden made to Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a Democrat who was crucial to the Senate's approval of the bill.
Mr. Biden had promised to end new drilling on public land and in federal waters. Even though Deb Haaland, who will oversee the lease as the interior secretary, said in 2020 that we need to act fast to counteract climate change and keep fossil fuels in the ground.
The International Energy Agency warned that nations must stop approving new fossil fuel projects if they want to keep the average global temperature from rising. Scientists say the likelihood of catastrophic climate impacts increases considerably. The planet has warmed by more than one degree.
The new law condemns communities like Houma, which are already dealing with storms made more intense by climate change, to continued reliance on oil and gas drilling.
The auto industry is large. There was a limit on the number of cars that could be eligible for tax credits for buying an electric vehicle. The tax credit will be extended until 2032, and used cars will be able to get a credit of up to $4,000.
The energy industry is important to us. Billions of dollars will be given to Americans who purchase energy efficient and electric appliances. Tax credits will be given to companies that build new sources of emissions-free electricity. $60 billion is set aside to encourage clean energy manufacturing and penalties for methane emissions that exceed federal limits.
It's health care. Medicare will be able to negotiate with drugmakers on the price of some prescription drugs. The law extends the subsidies that are available under theAffordable Care Act for three more years.
There is a tax code Companies that report more than $1 billion in annual income can use credits, deductions and other tax treatments to lower their tax rates under the new law. An investment of about 80 billion will be made by the legislation.
Communities with low incomes. The package supports low-income communities and communities of color that are disproportionately affected by climate change. Grants for zero-emissions technology and money to mitigate the negative effects of highways are included.
The industry is made of fossil fuels. The legislation requires the federal government to expand tax credits for coal and gas-burning plants that use carbon capture technology. These provisions were added in order to get the support of Senator Joe Manchin III.
West Virginia is located in the United States. The law is expected to benefit Mr. Manchin's state, which is the nation's second largest producer of coal, making permanent a federal trust fund to support miners with black lung disease and offering new incentives to build wind and solar farms in areas where coal mines or coal are located
Jack Sweeney said that they were sold down the river and had to serve as a bargaining chip. The group went to Mr. Biden's home state of Delaware to point out that while Congress and the administration are allowing more drilling in the Gulf, they are not protecting the Atlantic and Pacific coast. He said that the treatment of Louisiana's coast is different.
The new law creates an even playing field for offshore oil and gas, according to the president of the National Ocean Industries Association. An estimated 372,000 jobs will be supported by the oil and gas industry in the Gulf over the next 25 years according to his organization.
The physical footprint of the industry is decreasing as technology improves.
The law requires the Interior Department to accept the highest bid it received for 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico by September 15. The sale was canceled in January by a federal judge who ruled that the Biden administration did not take climate change into account.
According to analysts, the lease sale could yield up to 1.1 billion barrels of oil and emit over 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over its lifetime.
The agency is committed to implementing the law, including the mandate for additional lease sales on public lands and federal waters. The environmental groups plan on challenging the sale.
The new law requires the Interior Department to lease 2 million acres in federal lands for oil and gas development before it can approve federal lease for wind, solar and other renewable energy projects.
Brian Deese is the director of the National Economic Council. He said the new law was the most significant legislation in American history to meet the moment of the climate crisis and build a clean energy manufacturing base in the US.
The law includes $60 billion to help low-income communities address the legacies of environmental pollution and environmental justice, according to Mr. Deese.
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Under the Trump administration, safety regulations for offshore oil and gas drilling were loosened. According to government estimates, there is no money in the new climate law or federal plans to repair more than 8,600 miles of offshore pipelines.
Activists said that putting more drilling rigs in the Gulf would cause disaster because of climate change.
The region has a long-running oil spill. When a production platform off the Louisiana coast was damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Taylor Energy's undersea wells have been coming into the Gulf of Mexico. More than one million gallons of crude have been collected and removed from the site. A spill near a nature reserve was one of 55 oil spills caused by Hurricane Ida.
The recent small spill in Terrebonne Bay on the opening day of shrimp season was barely noticed.
Mr. Milito said that the equipment was a problem. He said that it is a risk the industry takes seriously. He was asked if the gulf was a sacrifice zone. If we didn't lease in the Gulf of Mexico, we would be making a bigger sacrifice for Americans.
The Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival is held over the Labor Day weekend in Morgan City, a town about 70 miles west of New Orleans. Two weeks ago, hundreds of people streamed beneath an overpass to sample fried alligator and jambalaya, tour an oil rig, and see the blessing of the shrimping fleet.
The region prided itself on both fuel and food according to skipper Williams.
Mr. Williams runs a sporting goods store that sells t-shirts at the festival He asked if the oil spills would hurt. Does it hurt for a long time? That's not true.
Mr. Williams thinks that the new climate and tax law is the right thing to do. Is it possible that we just convert all vehicles to electricity? Every year, we have a Hurricane down here. You won't get very far with an electric car.
A.J. Richard worked for 36 years as a pipe fitter for oil companies. He blamed the president for inflation and said that Mr. Biden had shut down the oil industry.
The couple didn't think the president deserved credit for helping the region because he didn't know that Mr. Biden had signed a law that ensured more drilling in the Gulf. According to Mr. Richard, the only hope for the area was the presidential election in four years.
Mr. Richard said that if a Republican is elected, people can go back to work.
Wanda Presa moved to Amelia, La., from New Jersey 14 years ago and is currently the captain of a casino. She was happy to hear that oil and gas drilling would continue in the Gulf. It means more people have money to spend.
She feels a little more secure in her job if there is more leasing in the gulf.
Some people who have been hurt by spills want the oil industry to survive.
The co-owner of the David Chauvin Shrimp Company was angry about the spill on the first day of shrimp season. The extent of the financial damage to the fishermen won't be known until the end of the season.
She said that the Gulf of Mexico has a double-edged sword because of its dependence on oil and gas.
According to Ms. Chauvin, oil and gas are important to the Gulf.
Ms. Chauvin said that they needed more leases. More oversight is needed.
Mr. Solet nodded quietly as she spoke. He acknowledged that he was careful with his friends and neighbors. He said his opposition to oil and gas expansion in the Gulf has caused problems with his family.
People down here don't like to be called a sacrifice zone because what they hear is, 'You're coming for our jobs.' He said, "You're coming for the food on my table, the clothes on my child's back, a way of life I adore."
Mr. Solet worked on oil rigs for nine years before he became an activist. He's descended from a long line of commercial fishermen who have seen their livelihoods altered by coastal erosion and hurricanes.
Mr. Solet said that he wouldn't be able to bring his youngest child here by the time he was 16. The thing is going to be gone.