While the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s lawsuit has been met with strong opposition, there is also a lot of support for it. The lawsuit, which was filed last year, names almost 100 oil and gas companies as defendants. The lawsuit alleges that those oil and gas companies are responsible for much of the damage and injury to the coastal areas and wants the companies to fix the damage or pay the costs of repairing the wetlands.
On April 8, the attorneys for the SLFPA-E formally presented an offer to the 97 gas and oil companies to settle the lawsuit. The settlement offer not only requires the oil and gas companies to come to negotiations, but it also states that the SLFPA-E attorneys will “restructure their fees.”
The governor’s executive assistant for coastal activities said that the settlement offer doesn’t address the real problem. That is, according to the assistant, the fact that the lawsuit was filed in the first place. He said that the attorneys and the SLFPA-E don’t have the authority to file the suit or seek a settlement. In addition, he said that the suit needs to be dismissed and the fee contract with the attorneys should be canceled.
The settlement states that the attorneys will waive any fees owed if the oil and gas companies agree to negotiations. If those negotiations don’t reach a conclusion, then the arbitration fees for the attorneys would apply.
While not every environmental problem needs to be resolved in court, it is sometimes the only way to get action. When fighting big corporations on such issues, it’s important to have an experienced environmental attorney on your side who is familiar with the specific laws that govern the environment.
Source: WAFB, “Attorneys offer to settle oil and gas lawsuit” No author given, Apr. 08, 2014