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Authority files suit against 97 oil-related companies

According to a recent article, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East filed a lawsuit against 97 pipeline, oil and gas companies. According to the author, the focus of the suit should be to protect the public from the injury and property damage that would be caused by another severe tropical storm.

The lawsuit reportedly focuses on a land bridge on Lake Ponchartrain that is eroding in part due to damage caused by the actions of gas and oil companies. Data collected by the Army Corps of Engineers suggests that storm surges on the lake will rise by approximately seven feet if the land bridge erodes, according to analysis by the Lake Ponchartrain Basin Foundation. If this happens, several local communities will be threatened by tropical storms, including Slidell, Mandeville, Laplace, Norco, Kenner, Metairie and New Orleans.

If the authority wins the lawsuit, the funds could be used to make the lake safer for residents. The SLFPA-East is considering a plan that involves constructing levees on the land bridge and stabilizing the shoreline and the land bridge. In addition, commissioners with the authority are thinking about a second plan that calls a system that would prevent the lake from filling when a storm is advancing. Scientists predict that this plan would reduce storm surges by around five to six feet.

Even if this case is not resolved, the actions of the 97 companies named in the suit might open themselves to additional litigation from individuals. If experts and attorneys are able to demonstrate that the companies contributed to the erosion of the land bridge and increased storm surge, those affected by a tropical storm in the areas designated in this article might be able to file lawsuits that seek compensation for injury and property damage against the companies.

Source: nola.com, "Coastal erosion lawsuit is about protecting people and property in Louisiana: G. Paul Kemp", May 26, 2014

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