In Louisiana, Governor Bobby Jindal is moving forward with legislation that could stop a lawsuit being brought by a New Orleans levee board. There are currently 97 oil and gas companies facing this suit against BP and other companies over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Jindal claims that the goal is to stop frivolous lawsuits while making the legal environment more fair, but critics worry that it will it more difficult for consumers to take companies to task for pain and suffering caused by manufacturing defects or other problems.
This bill has not been written specifically to protect oil and gas companies from the oil spill suit, but it was heavily supported by the oil and gas industry. They lobbied in favor of the bill and have supported the governor’s decision to sign it into law. Meanwhile, environmentalists have expressed great disappointment and voiced concerns that this could have negative consequences for the state for years to come.
The suit filed by the levee board demands that the company pay to repair damage that has been caused by dredging canals and pipeline channels. They also expect the companies to make reparations for any damage that cannot be restored. Supporters of the lawsuit believe that they are merely trying to hold a company accountable for any defective product while opponents fear that the suit is an attempt to raise more money for the state.
Governor Jindal does not believe that this particular law will have an impact on BP claims. Supporters of the bill point out that the lawsuit against BP and other companies can still move forward under federal law. However, local officials worry that the bill might affect the lawsuit by slowing down the process and delaying any eventual payout from the oil companies responsible for the spill.