More than just getting mad, Louisiana is attempting to get even with oil companies whose dredging and dredging has eroded Louisiana’s coastal wetlands for decades. The areas provide an important barrier during floods and storms–and oil companies are supposed to remediate the canals they dig to ensure the longevity of the area.
The only problem is: they haven’t been. Now, according to Reuters, the relatively obscure state agency, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – East, is suing 97 oil companies in response–including the big guys like BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Royal Dutch Shell.
John Barry, the vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – East, a state agency, said companies’ drilling permits required them to perform remediation work that in most cases was never carried out after digging canals to reach drilling platforms.
Barry said the filing was also based on a federal law that prohibits doing anything that hurts levees, and a Louisiana law from the 1700s that prohibits one person from doing something on his property that sends more water flowing onto someone else’s.
“The authority takes its mission to protect the public seriously,” Barry told reporters. “Because of that, and recognizing the controversial nature of what we are doing, we have filed a lawsuit.”
It’s sure to be a David-versus-Goliath type of proceeding, assuming they ever reach trial–or that Republican governor Bobby Jindal can’t convince the agency to withdraw the filing.