Another Economic Blow to Louisiana

July 29, 2010

Alexander Responds to Avondale Shipyard Closure Announcement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recent news that Northrop Grumman has decided to close Avondale Shipyard and relocate the work on the remaining LPD-17 ships to Ingalls yard in Pascagoula, Miss. in 2013 sent shockwaves from the Gulf Coast to Delta communities such as Tallulah, La. I have serious concerns about the economic impact this consolidation will have on the entire state, and I believe Northrop Grumman should reconsider. On Tuesday, July 27, the Louisiana Congressional Delegation met with United States Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to voice frustration and worries about the decision’s repercussions.

In the midst of high unemployment, an economic crisis, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a drilling moratorium and prospective layoffs from NASA’s shuttle program at the Michoud Assembly Facility, the plan to close Avondale along with the smaller shipyards will have devastating effects on the state of Louisiana.

We have to find a solution to address this issue for the nearly 5,000 employees at Avondale and 100 in Tallulah. Northrop Grumman states they are the largest industrial employer in Louisiana, one of the nation’s leading providers of major surface combatants such as destroyers, cruisers, high endurance cutters, and amphibious assault ships for the U.S. and international navies, the nation’s sole-industrial designer, builder and refueler of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, and one of only two companies capable of designing and building nuclear-powered submarines. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding has built more than 70 percent of the U.S. Navy’s current surface combatant fleet.

If Avondale were making a cruise ship line, this would not be in the jurisdiction of the federal government to intercede. But as Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution states that No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another, I believe this is the time to exercise some intervention in this consolidation process.

I can assure you that the Louisiana Congressional Delegation will work to explore ways to keep these shipbuilding jobs in Louisiana; and if Northrop Grumman does move forward with this plan, we must assist the state in finding alternative uses for the Avondale Shipyard.

Watch U.S. Rep Rodney Alexander talk on the House floor today urging his colleagues to help Louisiana in
the midst of another economic blow to the state.

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