Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Road Woes in DeSoto

The Shreveport Times reported that Louisiana Oil and Gas Association president Don Briggs took a ride on DeSoto Parish's increasingly damaged roads yesterday.  The parish police jury was about to enact stricter road regulations before Mr. Briggs promised some action on behalf of his members (at least he promised some meetings...which might lead to action). 

DeSoto has become the epicenter of the Haynesville drilling boom, but the largely rural parish of about 26,000 people does not have the physical infrastructure to support drilling operations spread all over the parish.  Over the past two years, truck traffic has increased exponentially, causing roadway damage and some unsafe driving conditions.  Road safety rightly has become a big issue in DeSoto. 

The parish gets a small percentage of state severance taxes and has seen an increase in sales taxes as a result of the Haynesville development.  It has also auctioned mineral lease rights for some parish owned property.  But these funds are not enough to compensate the local government for the negative impacts of drilling and the changes caused by the increase in activity. 

The DeSoto infrastructure situation is a good example of the strains from the impact of drilling.  Theoretically, increased tax collections should fund infrastructure improvements, but it should do more than just serve the needs of the drilling and production companies.  It should help fund schools and parish services and make the parish a better place to live.  If all tax money goes back into serving the industry, is the parish better off with the Haynesville Shale? 

It is important to strike a balance between growing the energy industry in north Louisiana and maintaining, nay improving the quality of life.  What's the first rule about the golden goose?  Don't kill it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The leadership within that parish, be it the sheriff, the schools or the police jury, looks for answers outside of itself because it lacks the cognitive ability to address problems from within. They have always outsourced the problem management then taken credit for the problem being resolved. This publicity show is just more of the same old coping mechanism that they play out ad nauseum. The more significant problem is that the citizens elect the same persons to the same positions over and over. It's a nice parish to own mineral rights in but I would regret living there!!!