In Aug. 2013, the founder of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade submitted a public records request in order to have access to emails from Garrett Graves. Graves is the coastal advisor for Governor Bobby Jindal. He has also been one of the leading figures in the opposition of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s lawsuit against almost 100 oil and gas companies.
The emails – thousands of them – could reveal conversations between energy officials and Graves about the lawsuit. That lawsuit alleges that dredging operations and pipeline and canal work is responsible for a major portion of the coast erosion. This damage and injury has increased the risk of flooding from hurricane surge in the New Orleans area.
The Louisiana Division of Administration had denied the request for the emails, saying that the request was too broad. In addition, the attorney for the division said that it will take two months at a minimum to go through 19,000 emails. The judge in the case, however, said, “If it takes that much time, then it takes that much time,” and he gave the division until January 15 to comply with the request. The judge ruled for the plaintiff and said that her request was “not unreasonable.” The division was also chided by the judge for dragging its feet in turning over the records and ordered the division to pick up the tab of $1,400 for the plaintiff’s attorney fees.
The plaintiff’s attorney said that she was pleased with the judge’s ruling.
It will be interested to see what is contained in the thousands of emails. It could explain why the Jindal administration has been so opposed to the lawsuit, why the members of the SLFPA-E board were replaced and why state funding has been cut off for the next year.