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Debate rages on over oil and gas industry lawsuit

The Louisiana Costal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) met on Aug. 21 to vote on whether or not to oppose the Southeast Flood Protection Authority-East’s lawsuit against nearly 100 oil and gas companies for their role in the loss of coastal wetlands. With the opposition from the state’s governor, Bobby Jindal, and his coastal advisor, Garret Graves, it was no surprise the CPRA voted to oppose the lawsuit. Graves is the chairman of the CPRA.

The CPRA did not vote to take any legal action; however, they did suggest other ideas to make the lawsuit disappear. Graves said the lawsuit may not be able to proceed because he thinks it might not pass procedural tests. He also said the flood authority board could have new members appointed by Governor Jindal. That is apparently something the governor has attempted to set in motion. Graves also said that the Louisiana legislature might intervene.

Not everyone at the meeting was in agreement with Graves, who called the lawsuit a “huge waste of time.” Also in attendance was the SLFPA-E’s vice president, John Barry. He’s also a member of the CPRA and when Graves asked why the lawsuit was filed, he responded, “…it’s necessary to protect the public.”

Barry went on to say that the lawsuit protects people and property from the “crawling death of vanishing shoreline and the violence of a hurricane storm surge.” Barry did acknowledge that the oil and gas industry has worked on addressing the deterioration of the wetlands, but says it simply has not been enough.

Many of the CPRA members agree that the lawsuit addresses the loss and injury to the coastal land correctly, but said that the lawsuit itself was “counterproductive.” The main theme from the CRPA members who voted to oppose the lawsuit was that the oil and gas industry is simply “a part of our community.” Barry said that the oil and gas companies shouldn’t be let off the hook for their role in the problem.

theadvocate.com, “Firewords continue over lawsuit against oil and gas industry” Amy Wold, Aug. 24, 2013

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