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Louisiana Oil Lawsuit Seeks To Protect Wetlands

December 16th, 2014

Attorneys for Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East filed a Louisiana oil lawsuit against the state’s powerful oil industry for damages done to the region’s fragile wetlands. Lawyers for the state’s oil companies are asking U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown to dismiss the Louisiana oil lawsuit on the grounds that the flood board lacks the authority to sue them. The corporate attorneys claim that a state law passed in June prevents “state or local government” agencies from suing oil companies.

Louisiana Oil Lawsuit And “Government Entities”

In its response, the flood board stated that it is an “independent political subdivision” of the state and exists outside the definition of a government agency. This independence, attorneys for the flood board content, gives them the authority to file the Louisiana oil lawsuit against drilling companies that damage the delicate wetland ecosystems. Judge Brown has requested that attorneys for both sides of the Louisiana oil lawsuit clarify why the issue should go before the federal bench, rather than ask the state Legislature to address the “drafting issue” of the problematic law.

Flood Board’s Louisiana Oil Lawsuit

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East is one of two regional boards established by the stated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The purpose of these boards is to establish procedures to protect the city of New Orleans from flooding. Last year, the East board filed a series of Louisiana oil lawsuits against nearly 100 major oil companies. The Louisiana oil lawsuit argues that the oil companies did not keep their promises to repair the environmental damage their efforts caused in the coastal wetlands.

Louisiana Oil Lawsuit And Coastal Wetlands

The wetlands serve as a natural barrier between the flood-prone areas of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. The flood board’s Louisiana oil lawsuit seeks to recover billions in damages to these vital areas. The Louisiana oil lawsuit alleges that drilling efforts, including the excavation of more than 10,000 miles of canals, has led to the loss of more than 700 square miles of land. Scientists testifying on behalf of the flood board have stated that the loss of this along the coastal regions may leave the New Orleans area vulnerable to future floods.

Louisiana Oil Lawsuit And Politics

In June 2014, Governor Bobby Jindal signed the controversial law that would prevent government entities from suing the oil companies. Since the flood board filed the Louisiana oil lawsuit prior to the bill becoming law, attorneys for the flood board assert that their case should go forward. Russell Jarrett, an attorney representing the oil companies, stated that the purpose of the law was to kill this specific lawsuit and that the flood board should not be considered a separate entity from the state government.

Source: New Orleans Advocate

Know Your Rights in a Louisiana Oil Lawsuit

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