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John Barry loses seat on levee board

The most vocal proponent of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (SLFPA-E) lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies will not be returning for another term on the board. John Barry, the board’s vice president, will not see his name forwarded on to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. However, in a surprising move, the nominating panel has voted to send the board’s president, Tim Doody’s name, on to the governor for consideration for another term.

The governor’s coastal advisor, Garrett Graves, made it clear that supporters of the lawsuit would not be considered for appointment to the SLFPA-E’s board. Governor Jindal and his aides have been staunch opponents of the lawsuit, which seeks to hold the oil and gas industry responsible for the damage and injury to the state’s wetlands. The lawsuit also seeks compensation for the damage caused by dredging and the construction of pipelines and canals.

The nominating panel tied when it voted on Barry’s name. One member of the nominating panel said that he didn’t “think there’s any doubt but for the lawsuit, John would be a shoe-in.” Others on the panel said that the statements from the governor’s administration about refusing to appoint anyone who supported the lawsuit to the board just made the nominations a “sham process.”

The nominating panel consists of representatives from universities, engineering organizations, the Council for a Better Louisiana and the Public Affairs Research Council. They are tasked with sending up a total of six nominees to the governor for a total of three positions. Even with the appointments, the governor will still not have a majority of seats against the lawsuit on the nine-member board.

Barry said he will continue to support the lawsuit and hopes that the new members of the board will “look at the suit with an open mind.”

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