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Louisiana Gas Lawsuits Aim To Stop Coastal Erosion

September 8th, 2014

At least two parishes have filed Louisiana gas lawsuits against pipeline companies for failing to follow state regulations to prevent erosion in coastal wetlands. The Louisiana gas lawsuits allege that the companies failed to restore the coastal areas damaged by their exploration efforts. While the parishes claim that any judgments against the oil and gas companies will go to rebuilding the coastline, they face stiff opposition not only from the defendants, but from the state’s political power brokers.

Louisiana Gas Lawsuits Attempt to Enforce Law

According to the Louisiana gas lawsuits filed by the parishes, the oil companies have failed to restore coastal wetlands damaged by pits and canals. These excavations leave polluted water and result in land that is susceptible to erosion and coastal flooding. The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, the group that oversees the levees around New Orleans, has also filed nearly a hundred Louisiana gas lawsuits, citing that the activity of oil and gas companies has weakened the city’s flood protection system.

Louisiana Gas Lawsuits And Coastal Land Loss

According to the state’s Department of Natural Resources, the Louisiana coast loses a football field (1.32 acres) worth of land every 38 minutes. At that rate, nearly 640,000 acres will be underwater by 2050, an area the size of the state of Rhode Island. An attorney representing Plaquemines Parish in their Louisiana gas lawsuit stated that enforcement of the regulations regarding coastal land restoration “has been lax or non-existent” and that “the industry needs to be held accountable.”

OGA, Governor Oppose Louisiana Gas Lawsuits

Both Governor Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association have spoken out against the parishes’ Louisiana gas lawsuits against the oil companies. Earlier this year, Governor Jindal also voiced his opposition to a Louisiana gas lawsuit filed by the New Orleans levee board. Governor Jindal proposed legislation that he claimed would protect the oil companies from such legal actions and “help continue coastal restoration work and stop unnecessary, frivolous lawsuits.”

Louisiana Gas Lawsuits and Conflict of Interest

The political wrangling over the Louisiana gas lawsuits has been a sight to behold, even by the state’s historic standards of backroom dealing. The legislation Governor Jindal sponsored would remove the levee board’s authority to file their Louisiana gas lawsuits and would take away the rights of a number of plaintiffs to sue BP. A report showed that Governor Jindal’s brother is an associate with a law firm representing BP, raising questions about a potential conflict of interest.

Source: The Ecologist

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