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Constitutional challenges likely if Louisiana bill halts lawsuits

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and his administration have won a battle in the war on so-called “legacy lawsuits” when the Louisiana State Senate passed a bill that would halt the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s lawsuit against almost 100 oil and gas companies. However, if the Louisiana House passes the bill as well, are there still options for the SLFPA-E and their lawsuit?

The answer by some is yes. One of the attorneys for the SLFPA-E in the lawsuit said that if the bill were to become law, there would be multiple constitutional challenges. The bill that is on its way to a House vote would be retroactive, meaning that the SLFPA-E’s lawsuit would be cut down. There are other bills that would affect the SLFPA-E, as well as other lawsuits that are pending.

The attorney said that she “cannot explain why legislators are not listening to the voices of their constituents.” Those that backed the lawsuit allege that a recent poll shows there is support from the public for the suit.

The SLFPA-E’s lawsuit wants the oil and gas companies named as defendants held accountable for the environmental problems that occurred as a result of dredging operations and canal and pipeline building. The coastal areas have suffered greatly from these oil and gas company operations, resulting in great damage and injury to the wetlands.

As the bill proceeds through the House, only time will tell if it will pass. Until then, the backers of the SLFPA-E lawsuit will likely continue to lobby for votes against this and other bills.

Source: The Times-Picayune, “Bills to scuttle ‘Big Oil’ suit progress, but lawsuits may continue: Analysis” No author given, Apr. 27, 2014

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