Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states need to find constructive ways to mitigate the coastal erosion problems, but a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court indicates that filing lawsuits against the oil and gas industry may not be a viable way to solve this problem.
On Oct. 30, the Supreme Court refused to revive a Louisiana flood protection board’s lawsuit seeking to make oil, gas and pipeline companies pay for decades of damage to coastal wetlands.
The suit was filed by the Southwest Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. The suit claimed that the industry’s dredging of canals in coastal drilling areas contributed to the loss of wetlands that form a hurricane buffer for New Orleans.
Federal courts, however, blocked the suit. A federal district judge in New Orleans in 2015 ruled that federal and state law provided no avenue by which the board could bring the suit. Then the appeals court in New Orleans agreed with the lower court, which led to the Supreme Court ruling.
Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, had this response to the ruling: “It’s three strikes and you’re out! The SLFPA-E lawsuit was dismissed in a U.S. District Court, refused by a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. These and similar frivolous lawsuits against oil and gas companies are destroying Louisiana’s competitiveness to attract future investment. We are thankful for the Supreme Court’s ruling and will continue to hold true to our convictions, fighting to ensure that the oil and gas industry remains a cornerstone of Louisiana’s culture.”
The oil and gas industry has been a bedrock part of the Louisiana economy for over a century, and has brought prosperity to many Louisiana families. Oil and gas production is also vital to the whole nation.
But Louisiana and other coastal states also need help with mitigating the coastal erosion problem, and since the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked this avenue of funding, it should be up to the federal government to live up its responsibility to provide the funding needed to restore the coastal parishes.
Source: The American Press