Levee board member wants lawsuit against 97 oil companies dropped
Just last month, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal appointed three members to the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. This was in response to a lawsuit filed by the SLFPA-E against 97 oil and gas companies. This lawsuit alleges that dredging operations and canal and pipeline construction are responsible for the damage and injury to the coastal areas of the state. This, in turn, led to a higher risk of storm surge from hurricanes.
The lawsuit was strongly opposed by the Jindal administration, especially by Garrett Graves, the governor’s coastal advisor. One of the board members appointed by the governor will reportedly ask the SLFPA-E to suspend the lawsuit. Other board members have reportedly asked that the board reaffirm the vote to continue with the lawsuit.
Governor Jindal and Graves made it clear that no one would be appointed to the board’s three seats unless they were opposed to the lawsuit. The member wanting the lawsuit suspended has reportedly asked that it be suspended for 90 days. He also wants the attorneys representing the SLFPA-E to stop their work. The member said that this will allow the board to “re-evaluate” the decision to sue the oil and gas companies.
When asked if anyone in the Jindal administration had asked him to submit the resolutions to the board, he said, “Absolutely not. I am acting in someone’s interest, though; the Louisiana taxpayer.”
John Barry, the board’s former vice-president, will speak before the board takes the resolution under consideration. Barry, who was one of the board members replaced by Governor Jindal, has created Restore Louisiana Now, Inc., which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to coastal issues and supporting the lawsuit. The plan is for Restore Louisiana to lobby the Legislature in preparation against the Jindal administration trying to stop the lawsuit through a bill in the Legislature.
Environmental problems must be dealt with, such as the damage and injury to the Louisiana coastal areas. Litigation is sometimes necessary to get compensation for restoration efforts.