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Will state coastal advisor derail oil and gas lawsuit?

The chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority in Louisiana is Garret Graves. He has been a strong opponent against the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies. That lawsuit seeks to have the companies repair the damage and injury done to the wetlands or to pay the SLFPA-E for the damages.

Governor Bobby Jindal and Graves have strongly opposed the lawsuit since it was filed. They have done everything possible to have the lawsuit stopped, including replacing members of the SLFPA-E’s board in the hope of getting the approval vote overturned. The governor is also looking for legislative interference from the next legislative session to stop the lawsuit.

Graves, though, now has the authority to determine whether the CPRA can file a lawsuit to make the contract between the SLFPA-E and the flood authority’s attorneys null and void. This comes after Louisiana Attorney General Bobby Caldwell publicly disagreed with the governor position that the SLFPA-E could not file the lawsuit because it was not allowed to under state law. The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association has since filed a lawsuit against Caldwell, challenging his approval of the SLFPA-E’s lawsuit.

Two attorneys for the SLFPA-E tried to give a slide presentation that explained why the lawsuit was filed against the oil and gas companies. During the presentation, one of the attorneys challenged some of Garett’s comments he had made in the past about the lawsuit. At that point, “an ex … member of the coastal authority” didn’t want to hear anything more and demanded that the presentation stop.

By the end of the meeting, Graves had his approval needed to try to stop the lawsuit by nullifying the attorneys’ contract.

Environmental concerns such as those addressed by the SLFPA-E’s lawsuit require action. Sometimes that action involves using the courts to get the legal ruling to back and validate such concerns. An attorney experienced in environmental law can provide valuable advice about how to best proceed to address such issues.

Source: nola.com, “Louisiana’s top coastal official may explore lawsuit to block levee board suit against energy companies” Mark Schleifstein, Jan. 15, 2014

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