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Bill to halt 'legacy lawsuits'

Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, gave the state the first look at a proposal designed to halt "legacy lawsuits" against the oil and gas industry. That proposal was discussed in our last post. As of April 2, two bills have been advanced to the Senate from a committee. Both bills would have an effect on the lawsuit filed last year by the Southeast Louisiana Oil Flood Authority-East against 97 oil and gas companies. That lawsuit seeks to hold the companies responsible for the injury and damage to the state's coastal areas.

At Thursday's hearing, John Barry, the former vice-president of the SLFPA-E's board and strong advocate for the lawsuit, spoke to the members of the Senate committee. Retired Lt. Gen. Honore did as well. Once their testimonies were completed, though, the committee forwarded Senate Bill 553.

On Wednesday, the Senate also forwarded a bill that would make Senate Bill 553 retroactive, meaning it would apply to the SLFPA-E's lawsuit. Sen. Robert Adley is responsible for both bills, stating that the SLFPA-E's lawsuit was improperly filed and the agreement between the board and private attorneys may have been done in secret at the beginning.

Lt. Gen. Honore said that making the bill retroactive was vindictive. He also compared the lawsuit filed by the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association against the SLFPA-E as "Putin-Style democracy."

The Louisiana Democratic Party voted a few weeks ago to support the lawsuit. It is not known if there is enough support in the legislature to stop either bill from passing.

The damage done to the Louisiana coastal areas is substantial. For environmental concerns such as this one, there is often no recourse but legal action to draw attention to the problems. The advice of an environmental attorney can prove valuable in such cases.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "Louisiana Senate committee advances Jindal-backed bill threatening levee authority lawsuit" Emily Lane, Apr. 03, 2014

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