The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, or SLFPA-E, was created in order to keep politics away from flood control issues after Hurricane Katrina. The lawsuit that was filed earlier this year by the SLFPA-E against almost 100 oil and gas companies claims that the destruction and injury along Louisiana’s coast is a direct result of dredging operations and canal and pipeline construction.
However, according to Governor Bobby Jindal, the lawsuit will “shut down the oil industry.” There are some energy news reports, though, that say by next year, the daily production of oil may be as high as 1.55 million barrels, an increase of 180,000 barrels.
A former chief offshore engineer for Shell, who is also a flood expert, says that oil and gas industry has “contributed significantly to the loss of natural defenses such as barrier beaches, wetlands and marshes.” The lawsuit alleges that hurricanes are worse because of this damage.
Governor Jindal’s answer to the lawsuit has been to mount a large opposition campaign, but he has also replaced two board members on the SLFPA-E with people who will oppose the lawsuit. However, the suit was passed unanimously by the board’s nine members, so it’s unlikely this move will prove beneficial to the governor’s agenda.
Some believe that the governor’s commitment to ethics and the people of Louisiana is now in question. The supporters for the lawsuit believe that any commitment the governor once had concerning coast erosion is gone.
It remains to be seen whether the lawsuit will be allowed to proceed; however, one thing is certain; the suit has raised questions about the gas and oil industry’s role in the state’s coast erosion.