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Lawsuit against oil, gas companies will continue

Last Thursday, August 15, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East board voted to continue with its lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies. The unanimous vote came after a three-hour long board meeting. There was another vote, however. This vote unanimous, as well, and it was termed an "olive branch" for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and other opponents to the lawsuit.

The second vote by the SLFPAE's board will consider suspending "substantive matters advancing the lawsuit" if state officials will meet with the board and an agreement can be reached about the issues in the lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed against the oil and gas companies alleging it was the digging for pipelines and canals, as well as dredging, that caused the massive erosion along the state's Gulf coast.

The vice president of the SLFPAE said that any workable solution must include the oil and gas companies - specifically their "significant contributions." The date that the suspension would begin is not clear and exactly what would be put on hold with the lawsuit is not clear, either.

The governor and his coastal protection advisor, Garret Graves, have been outspoken opponents of the lawsuit. Graves met with members of the SLFPAE board during Thursday's meeting, but had no comment afterwards. He was not present when the votes were taken.

Proponents for the lawsuit say that they understand that the oil and gas industry has done a lot for the state of Louisiana; however, the damage done by the industry has resulted in the injury and erosion of wetlands that protected the inland from storm surges.

The vice president of the SLFPAE said that while he commends the work that Jindal and Graves have done when it comes to protecting Louisiana's coast, the SLFPAE knows the state government relies on the oil and gas industry for revenue and economic develop.


Source: 
sunherald.com, "Group votes to continue lawsuit against oil, gas companies" Kevin McGill, Aug. 15, 2013

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