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Louisiana governor reveals proposed ‘legacy lawsuit’ bill

Ever since the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Agency-East filed a lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies last year, Gov. Jindal has not kept his opposition quiet. From removing the vice-president of the board and two other members to working on legislation to quash so-called “legacy lawsuit,” the governor and his administration have tried to stop the lawsuit.

Last month, we spoke about Sen. Robert Adley and how he was putting together a bill for this legislative session that would affect the SLFPA-E’s lawsuit. That proposed legislation has now been unveiled. It’s not much different than expected. It would “clarify the types of damages that can be recovered and the standards for recovering those damages.” In other words, it would severely limit lawsuits against the oil and gas companies for the damage and injury to the state’s coastal areas. That damage has occurred over decades of pipeline and canal building.

The SLFPA-E’s lawsuit wants the oil and gas companies to pay for the damage or to repair it. The bill wants the oil and gas companies to admit their liability so that regulatory cleanup can occur without litigation. Also, the bill sets limits as to the level of damage or contamination that has been done by defining those levels as “unsafe or unsuitable.” Unfortunately, the head of the largest business lobbying group in the state was involved in developing the bill.

It’s not known what the actual impact on the SLFPA-E’s lawsuit would be if this bill was passed. Proponents of the new legislation say that the bill will benefit Louisiana consumers and “help end needless litigation.”

Those who want environmental changes in Louisiana know that court action is often required in order to make way for new changes. An experienced Louisiana environmental attorney can provide more information about how such cases can proceed.

Source: The Advocate, “Jindal unveils legislation to solve oil and gas legacy lawsuits” Michelle Millhollon, Mar. 28, 2014

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