Recent editorials from Louisiana newspapers:
The Advocate on using air conditioners amid the coronavirus pandemic:
It wasn’t so long ago that the people of Louisiana slogged through the summer without air conditioning.
But over the past half century or so, we’ve become addicted to it.
Now, it seems, we’re finding there is a downside to living with refrigerated air — it helps trap and recirculate the germs that create COVID-19.
Back in the spring, we could hope that the summer’s heat would vanquish the virus, or at least suppress it for a while.
That seems not to be happening, as cases are on the rise in sunbelt states like Texas and Florida. Louisiana has not been spared.
One reason may be that we’re not living outdoors in the Louisiana summer heat. We’re inside, where our air conditioners are creating a friendly environment for the infection and recirculating tarnished air.
Dr. Edward Nardell, a Harvard University professor who studies airborne diseases, says in poorly ventilated buildings, without outside airflow, the virus could get pushed around by currents created by air conditioning units.
Modern air conditioning technology limits outside airflow in the name of energy efficiency.
A small study out of Wuhan, China found one person infected nine other people at a restaurant through germs propelled by air conditioning.
Maybe those hot summer days aren’t so bad after all.
The American Free Press on the Calcasieu Ship Channel:
The Calcasieu Ship Channel is an economic driver, whose value on the local, state and federal levels shouldn’t be taken for granted.
The ship channel generated $5.7 billion in local revenue, with another $4.4 billion projected by 2023, according to a 2015 report,. More than 30 percent of the Lake Area workforce, or 36,000 workers, was tied to the channel in 2014, with another 9,000 anticipated new jobs by 2023.
The report also estimated that channel-dependent companies would generate $274 million in annual local revenue by 2023.
Officials have long been touting the ship channel’s importance in pushing Southwest Louisiana’s economy. They have also talked about how necessary maintaining the channel is for the entities that benefit from it.
Thankfully, $9 million has been secured for this upcoming fiscal year to cover the non-federal costs associated with disposing dredged materials along the channel. This was made possible through a public-private partnership between the state, the Port of Lake Charles and local industry.
The Legislature did its part by including $3 million for the effort in House Bill 1, which was approved at the close of a 30-day special session held in response to COVID-19. A bill by Rep. Stephen Dwight, a Moss Bluff Republican, was approved during the regular session that set up the funding formula, with the state and port each contributing $3 million. Industries that operate a facility on the channel will also contribute funding, based on how many ships are expected at the facility, along with the facility’s distance from the mouth of the channel.
Richert Self, the Port of Lake Charles’ new director, said the partnership between these entities is “a huge milestone” in making sure there is enough capacity for dredge spoils.
Prior to the partnership, Self said the port was footing the bill for the non-federal costs linked to the channel’s Dredged Material Management Plan. Dwight said that wasn’t sustainable over the long term. This partnership relieves the port of that financial burden.
Along with the upcoming fiscal year pledge, the Division of Administration and Gov. John Bel Edwards have agreed to contribute $5 million in state funding for the 2021 fiscal year. The port and industry will provide $2.5 million each.
This partnership is proof that state and local agencies can work together in ensuring the ship channel’s continued success as a proven economic driving force.
The Houma Courier on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Louisiana:
Jeers: More trouble for Louisiana’s biggest economic engine
Layoffs and bankruptcies continue to wrack Louisiana’s oil industry and, by extension, Houma-Thibodaux’s economy as global crude oil demand remains sluggish amid the coronavirus pandemic.
New reports show about 9,800 oilfield workers filed first-time unemployment claims across the state the first week of June. Another 5,300 had ongoing claims. Together, they total about 40% of the average number of workers the industry employed in Louisiana last year. Meanwhile, at least half a dozen Louisiana oilfield companies have filed for bankruptcy protection since May.
Industry lobbyists have pushed for tax and regulatory breaks from the state and federal government, though so far nothing major has materialized. It will be an uphill fight to win big concessions as governments face shortfalls of their own as they struggle to battle the pandemic and economic fallout.
The numbers show industry aid is justified, at least on a temporary basis, to not only keep people working but to ensure the industry is ready and able to respond once the world economy does begin to turn around. And both the state and federal government reap big tax money from the oil industry, a declining source of revenue for important public services like health, highways and education.
Somebody needs to do something to keep Louisiana’s main economic engine working.
Jeer: NFL Hall of Fame Game called off
The coronavirus pandemic is causing a great deal of anxiety for pro football fans, who are not certain there will be a season in 2020, and the cancellation of the traditional opening to the exhibition season is not helping.
This year’s Hall of Fame Game, scheduled for Aug. 6 between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, has been scrapped, marking the first event on the NFL calendar canceled because of the pandemic. The two teams will instead play in the 2021 game.
The 2020 Hall of Fame induction ceremony, scheduled for Aug. 8, will also be postponed for a year.
Football is, of course, way down the priority list of things affected by the pandemic, but for many it served as a ray of hope, a signal that some sort of normalcy is in sight.
With cases nationwide spiking, canceling the game is certainly called for, we just don’t have to like it. Jeers to the virus yet again.