The council for St. Bernard Parish voted to hire three law firms to see about their options for filing a lawsuit against several oil and gas companies they believe are responsible for the coast damage caused by canal dredging. This would be the third parish to file suit, with the other two parishes being Jefferson and Plaquemines.
These lawsuits are different from the one filed against 97 oil and gas companies by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. That lawsuit is using state laws as the basis for seeking damages for the loss of state’s wetlands and injury to the state’s coastal areas. The parishes’ lawsuits are using state laws to seek damages for “site-specific damages.”
The parishes’ lawsuits also have not faced the wrath of Governor Jindal like the SLFPA-E did, either. The governor has not come out to support the lawsuits, but he has not condemned the legal actions as he did – and continues to do – against the SLFPA-E. His coastal advisor, Garret Graves, said that the it would be preferable for the parishes to work with the oil and gas industry, but the laws of Louisiana do allow for the parishes to file suit.
The SLFPA-E recently had three board members appointed by the governor. His goal was to make sure none of the appointees would back the levee board’s lawsuit. However, there was a meeting today, and the board reaffirmed its backing of the suit, although the three appointees did vote against the motion.
Environmental problems sometimes must be dealt with in the courts, which is why it is important to have attorneys that understand environmental laws. By pursuing such actions, changes can happen that will improve the environment for generations.
thelensnola.org, “St. Bernard turns to law firm used by other parishes seeking damages from drillers” Bob Marshall, Dec. 04, 2013