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When a climate denier becomes Louisiana's governor: Jeff Landry’s first month in office

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry speaks at the start of the special session in the House Chamber on Jan. 15, 2024 in Baton Rouge, La. (Michael Johnson/The Advocate, Pool)

By Terry L. Jones for Floodlight. Also published in the Louisiana Illuminator and Verite

In his first four weeks in office, Louisiana Republican Gov. Jeff Landry has filled the ranks of state environmental posts with fossil fuel industry executives.

Landry has taken aim at the state’s climate task force for possible elimination as part of a sweeping reorganization of Louisiana’s environmental bureaucracy. The goal, according to Landry’s executive order, is to “create a better prospective business climate.”

And in his first month, Landry changed the name of the Department of Natural Resources, the state agency with oversight of the fossil fuel industry, by adding the word “energy” to its title.

While the United States and other countries have vowed to move away from fossil fuels, Landry is running in the opposite direction.

Landry, who has labeled climate change “a hoax,” wants to grow the oil and gas industry that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in Louisiana. Environmentalists blame the industry for the pollution that has harmed vulnerable communities in the state and for the climate change tied to increased flooding, land loss, drought and heat waves in the Gulf Coast state.

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