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Louisiana legislators to take on lawsuit by levee board

It's been in the works for several weeks. Both opponents and proponents of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East's lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies have heard that there would be legislative action about the lawsuit. However, until now, there hasn't been much in the line of specifics.

Senator Robert Adley, a Republican, is currently drafting legislation that he hopes will stop the lawsuit in its tracks. He said that most states do not allow government entities to hire private law firms to file lawsuits, while getting paid contingency fees. The senator hopes to finish up with the legislation within the next couple of weeks.

The lawsuit targets the oil and gas industry for the damage and injury to the coastal areas and wetlands of the state. It alleges that the building of canals have damaged the vegetation in the marshes that help protect against storm surges from hurricanes. The oil and gas industry, though, says that they have already performed the required cleanup -- albeit years ago -- and that it is simply not fair to now require a higher standard of cleanup.

Senator Gerald Long, a Republican, said that "It's going to be very difficult to know how to approach this issue now." This is because it's not known how the regulatory agencies in the past approached the cleanup. While this may be true, there can be little doubt that the introduction of saltwater into the marshes have taken a huge toll on the state's coastal areas.

Senator Long also said that he doesn't believe there will actually be a "legislative answer." He believes that the case will end up in court, where a decision will finally be Made.

Many environmental problems end up in court before a satisfactory answer is found. An experienced environmental lawyer can provide valuable advice to those seeking to hold someone accountable for environmental problems.

Source: The Advocate, "Political Horizons: Levee board lawsuit still under fire" Mark Ballard, Feb. 16, 2014

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