The nominating committee for the Flood Authority board seats is comprised of representatives from various educational and civic institutions in Louisiana. This nominating committee was tasked by Governor Bobby Jindal to find replacements for three open board seats for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East.
Since the filing of a lawsuit against nearly 100 oil and gas companies by the SLFPA-E, the board has been bombarded by the governor and his aides, who have voiced their strong opposition. The governor has vowed that none of the people up for reappointment on the SLFPA-E board would be appointed. That included the president, Tim Doody, and the vice-president, John Barry.
The chairman of the nominating committee, Jay Lapeyre, is anything but impartial when it comes to the lawsuit the SLFPA-E board members unanimously approved in June. He is the chairman of ION Geophysical Group’s board, which is an oil and gas supplier. Instead of recusing himself from chairing the nominating committee, Lapreyre voted against nominating Barry. Barry was voted out, with a tie vote of 5-5. Doody’s name was submitted to the governor for consideration, but the governor has already said he will not reappoint him. Lapeyre’s recusal would not have mattered when it came to Barry’s seat on the board.
The new board members will not have the majority on the SLFPA-E board, although there will be considerable pressure on the other members to change their minds where the lawsuit is concerned now that Barry is gone. Governor Jindal has already said that he will attempt to get the lawsuit thrown out by passing new legislation.
Barry doesn’t think that the lawsuit will end that way. He thinks that none of the legislators in Louisiana are against flood control. The lawsuit wants the oil and gas companies held responsible for the damage and injury to the wetlands. Governor Jindal thinks the lawsuit will have a negative impact on the state’s plan for restoring the coastal areas. Barry believes that cooperation from the state and the authority could result in a windfall of money to restore the damages areas.
The lawsuit continues. Big industries, such as the oil and gas industry, often create environmental problems that they must be accountable for. Taking on the big cooperation takes skill and resources, as well as an everyday person who genuinely cares for the environment.