The Louisiana legislature is considering a number of bills aimed at stopping “legacy lawsuits” aimed at the oil and gas industry. The main lawsuit these bills hope to derail is the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s lawsuit against almost 100 oil and gas companies. That lawsuit alleges that the building of pipelines and canals, as well as dredging operations, are among the primary causes of the loss of coastal land in the state. The lawsuit wants the oil and gas companies to either fix the damage and injury to the coastal areas or pay for the repairs.
One bill, SB79, is sponsored by Sen. Robert Adley. A staunch opponent to the SLFPA-E’s lawsuit, Sen. Adley’s bill, would give the governor power to remove members of the levee boards. The senator has made some amendments to the bill, but for opponents, it wasn’t anything that would sway their current feelings on the bill.
According to Sen. Conrad Appel, Sen. Adley just wants the levee boards to be completely under the governor’s control. Sen. Appel said that is not what southeast Louisianans want. In fact, Appel said that there will be a fight where the bill is concerned because residents want the boards to have little political element.
As for the rest of the bills making their way in front of the Senate, it’s not known yet how those will fair. For many supporters of the SLFPA-E’s lawsuit, these bills are being closely watched to see if the lawsuit will be allowed to proceed.
Environmental challenges in Louisiana, especially those involving the oil and gas industry, often must end up in court before any type of successful settlement can be found. However, the SLFPA-E and their attorneys have not yet been able to get anyone from the oil and gas companies to sit down at the table.
Source: The New Orleans Advocate, “Adley makes changes to levee board bill, expects opposition” mark ballard, Apr. 25, 2014