3 Former Louisiana Governors Agree: Lawsuit Against 97 Oil And Gas Companies Should Proceed by Ari Phillips, March 27, 2014, Think Progress
Louisiana has given a lot to oil and gas companies, mostly in the form of natural resources. The generosity is not always reciprocated. While the industry brings economic gains and employment to the state, when it comes to environmental costs or socioeconomic strife the exchange is not so smooth.
Last summer, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East took matters into their own hands by filing a lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies claiming they have caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of acres of coastal wetlands, which increases flood danger. The suit asks the companies to restore damaged wetlands or offer financial compensation for areas beyond repair, money that could be used for levee maintenance or construction.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was quick to brush off the legitimacy of the claims, demanding that the lawsuit be pulled and asserting that the board is improperly taking over the state’s role in coastal policy. The oil and gas companies — the perpetrators of all the digging and dredging of pipeline canals along the coast among other damaging activities — have sided with Jindal, who has already appointed three replacements to the board who see more eye-to-eye with him and share his opposition to the lawsuit after others terms ended.
On Wednesday, three former Louisiana governors took opposition to Jindal and the oil and gas industry. During a panel discussion at Loyola University, Buddy Roemer, Kathleen Blanco, and Edwin Edwards agreed that “no state officials — neither the legislature nor the current governor — should interfere with the local levee board’s lawsuit against oil companies,” according to UptownMessenger.com, a local New Orleans news source.
“This ought to be a for-profit state, but those who abuse the privilege and don’t pay for damaging the land and water and the air that we breathe ought to pay the cost of it,” said Roemer, a Republican who ran for president in 2012. Roemer also stated that the industry is simply trying to maximize their profits by shirking the responsibility of repairing the coastline. Edwards and Blanco focused more on the lawsuit itself, with Edwards saying that at the very least it ought to be allowed to go to court to find out who is responsible and for what. [Emphasis added]