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Will state Democrats back lawsuit against oil and gas companies?

Foster Campbell, the Public Service Commissioner in Louisiana, wants the state’s Democrats to step up and get behind the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East when it comes to the lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies. He believes this is one issue where his political party simply cannot afford to be on the sidelines.

The SLFPA-E filed the lawsuit in July, arguing that pipeline projects and dredging has caused damage and injury to the state’s wetlands and coastal regions. The damage, the lawsuit alleges, has made New Orleans and the surrounding areas more susceptible to storm surges. The suit wants the oil and gas industries to pay for repairs to the coastal areas, which could be in the billions of dollars.

The lawsuit has its opponents, with the most vocal being the Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. However, neither the Democratic or Republican parties have chosen a side, something that the commissioner wants to see changed.

Campbell wrote a letter to Karen Carter Peterson, the Chairwoman for the Louisiana Democratic Party. In that letter, he said that it’s time for the Democratic Party to show their support for the SLFPA-E and wants a vote on the matter during the next meeting.

The levee board voted unanimously to support the lawsuit and according to the board’s vice president, John Barry, that included “a number of Republicans and members who identify with the Tea Party.” Barry’s term ended in June, and his name was not submitted to the governor by a nominating panel last week. While he is currently still on the board, he will be replaced by the governor’s new choice for Barry’s seat. Two other seats have nominations before the governor.

Campbell said in his letter to Peterson that “the stakes in this battle could not be higher: saving our coastal communities, preventing an ecological catastrophe and demonstrating our political independence as a people.”

Protecting the environment against big industry endeavors is one way that many people believe our state’s precious resources can be preserved. If you believe that your environment is being negatively impacted by those in the big industries, it is important to have your voice heard by those who can help make a difference.

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