The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Agency-East could have some hills to climb in the coming months. The injury and damage that the oil and gas companies have caused to the coastal areas in the state are well known. However, those companies have failed to repair the damage or pay for repairing the damage caused by canal and pipeline construction and dredging operations.
The SLFPA-E’s former vice-president, John Barry, has led the charge as a proponent for the lawsuit, lobbying state legislators to vote against bills designed to put an end to so-called “legacy lawsuits.” Not only does this include the SLFPA-E’s lawsuit, but also those filed by St. Tammany parish.
Last week, Gifford Briggs, who is the president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, told people in Abita Springs that there wasn’t any legislation that could keep a local government or individual from filing suit against a gas oil company. Barry held a news conference earlier this week, saying that Briggs misled people with that and other comments.
“Briggs made some statements that were not the entire truth….In fact, there are at least 12 bills that would limit the rights of governments and individuals to sue the oil industry,” said Barry. While he stopped short of calling Briggs a liar, he did say that Briggs “didn’t tell the whole truth.”
Senate Bill 531 will limit the rights of citizens and government entities to file suit against oil and gas companies for damages. Briggs was speaking at a meeting set up to provide information to people about a current proposal by Helis Oil & Gas Co., about the fracking process that would be used at an oil well near Mandeville.
When questioned about his comments, Briggs stood by them. He said that he wasn’t attempting to mislead the parish residents and that Barry was simply to “promote his own legislative agenda.”
Source: The Times-Picayune, “Environmental activist John Barry accuses oil and gas representative of misleading St. Tammany citizens” Robert Rhoden, May. 06, 2014