As you drive along, you may notice yellow tent shaped signs with black numbers on them periodically. Utility companies use these signs to mark underground natural gas or oil pipelines. The signs are angled so that the numbers can be seen from the air. As you drive along the Creole Nature Trail, you are driving over a complex network of buried pipelines. Over 20,000 miles of pipeline are located in offshore oil fields, and thousands more miles of pipeline are in Louisiana's inland areas. Louisiana ranks fourth in the United States in crude oil production but if you include off-shore production from federal areas off the coast of Louisiana it is the number one oil producing state. In fact, almost one quarter of the oil used in the United States makes its way through Louisiana. Eighteen percent of US oil and 24 percent of its natural gas originates in, is transported through, or is processed in these coastal wetlands of Louisiana. The Henry Hub, located east of here in adjacent Vermilion Parish, interconnects nine interstate and four intrastate pipelines bringing natural gas to markets in the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Gulf Coast states. In America we use more oil per person than any other country! Oil runs our machines and fuels our trucks, planes and the car you are driving right now. It may have made the steering wheel you are holding and anything that is plastic in your car. Although these pipelines are "out of sight, and out of mind," the next time you see one of these yellow signs be reminded that the life-blood of our economy, and your lifestyle, is flowing under you right now. And that's just one of the MANY reasons why preserving Louisiana's wetlands are so critical.