The Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce is bringing its Energy Division back into its programming, promoting and protecting not only the oil and gas industry but also encouraging the development of alternative sources of energy.

Chamber Chairman Dave Welch, president and CEO of Stone Energy officially announced the plan Monday, noting that the division, formally known as the oil and gas committee, had been dormant for a time.

While the timing appears to be a direct response the BP oil spill and subsequent government moratorium on deepwater drilling, Welch says there had been conversations about adding the energy division even before the ban.

“The moratorium expedited the re-establishment,” says Welch. “With so many local companies involved in the exploration and production of oil and gas it just made sense to provide them with a common ground.”

Welch announced that Oleg Mikhailov, Gulf of Mexico operations west manager of Chevron, is chairing the division. The vice chairman is Doug Keller, vice president of sales and marketing for Knight Oil Tools.

Volunteers will lobby all levels of government to promote pro-industry legislation and to defeat anti-industry legislation. The division will serve as a clearinghouse of information and a convener for developing strategy. On the federal level, according to the chamber, immediate focus will be given to the moratorium on deepwater drilling activity and its impact on the industry’s and Acadiana’s future.

On the state level, lobbying against a proposed oil and gas processing tax is a priority. Likewise, the division will work against any legislation to create contingency fees and to reinstate punitive damages in suits against the industry.

Another area of immediate interest is the promotion of the conversion from foreign oil to domestic compressed natural gas used by government and commercial fleets.

Chamber members interested in the division’s mission are invited to sign up. Click here to sign up online for the energy division or contact the chamber office at 337-233-2705.

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