Flood authority reaffirms lawsuit against oil and gas companies

On Dec. 5, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s board voted to continue with their lawsuit against almost 100 oil and gas company. The vote came after one of the new appointees to the board wanted to see if the support for the lawsuit was still present in the current board.

The suit, which was filed earlier this year, alleges that the oil and gas industry is responsible for damage and injury to Louisiana coastal areas. It seeks unspecified damages, but also wants the oil and gas companies to work towards repairing the damage done by the dredging of canals and the building of pipelines. The suit also claims that the damage to the wetlands has left the New Orleans area susceptible to hurricane surges.

Governor Bobby Jindal has been a strong opponent of the lawsuit, along with his coastal advisor, Garret Graves. The governor sought to quash support for the lawsuit by replacing three board members whose terms were up. This included the replacement of John Barry, who was the board’s vice president. In addition, funds to the SLFPA-E have been reduced to nothing from $500,000 last year.

There are two parishes in Louisiana that have filed lawsuits against some of the same oil and gas companies, and a third parish is considering doing the same. These lawsuits deal with specific damages in the parishes and seek to challenge the drilling permits and leases given to the oil and gas industry companies.

While Governor Jindal’s efforts to stop the lawsuit at the board level were unsuccessful, he has pledged to seek legislative changes that would have the same effect.

Environmental problems are not just problems for environmental groups. In some cases, civil litigation by other organizations may be needed in order to protect sensitive areas such as the wetlands of Louisiana.

Source: 
louisianarecord.com, “Despite board’s reorganization, flood protection authority reaffirms massive lawsuit against oil industry” Kyle Barnett, Dec. 06, 2013

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