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Louisiana levee association rails against oil company lawsuit

A lawsuit filed against nearly 100 oil, gas and pipeline companies by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East last month has racked up a few opponents, including the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal. Now the Association of Levee Boards of Louisiana has also joined that list.

The association represents 27 coast agency designees and levee districts in the state and the executive committee has come out against the lawsuit. A full vote from the association is expected at the next meeting in December.

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is responsible for overseeing coastal levee authorities and districts, as well as the development and implementation of the master plan for restoration and protection. The president of the Pontchartrain Levee District said he believes that the CPRA should handle coastal matters because it is “best equipped.” He is also the environmental assurance coordinator at the Motiva refinery in Norco. Motiva , while not named in the SLFPA-East lawsuit, the company is a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Shell. Shell is named in the lawsuit.

The email stated the ALBL needed to issue a response in regards to the lawsuit because of the massive amount of media attention it has garnered, but also because of the opposition by Governor Jindal and his offshore energy policy advisor, Garret Graves. Graves is also the Chairman of the ALBL.

One of the attorneys for SLFPA-East attended the executive committee meeting for ALBL. Each of the members in the association, he said, have different considerations. For example, some of those considerations include the district’s relationship with the oil and companies in their area. The oil companies may own a lot of land in a district and if a right of way is needed, the oil company gives it to the district for free.

If this lawsuit is successful, the oil, gas and pipeline companies will repair the damage to wetlands that increased the risk of damage and injury due to storm surges. It would also require those companies to compensate the SLFPA-East for damage that cannot simply be repaired.

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