Louisiana's attorney general (AG) is intervening in 39 lawsuits out of three parishes that allege hundreds of energy companies have damaged the state's coastline over the years.
The parishes involved are Cameron, Jefferson and Plaquemines. The state's constitution allows the AG to intervene to protect the interests of the state.
"The people of Louisiana are facing some very difficult challenges," AG Jeff Landry said. "Our state government is grappling with budget issues, our industries are struggling to create jobs and our coastline is washing away. These tribulations require enormous public policy decisions. It is critical that these issues are resolved with the best interests of the constituents in mind."
For years, numerous lawsuits have been filed making claims concerning coastal erosion and degradation. To date, there are 39 such lawsuits (see Daily GPI, Feb. 12; Dec. 17, 2013; July 25, 2013). Former Gov. Bobby Jindal, as well as members of the state legislature friendly to the industry, have sought to thwart the lawsuits.
"Continuing to allow these parties to steer the public policy of Louisiana regarding our coastal restoration and protection is unhelpful," Landry said. "We cannot allow these differing, and competing interests, to push claims which collectively impact the public policy for our coast and entire State. Louisiana’s public policy should be dictated by the rule of law and its elected officials.
"I truly believe we can balance the tremendous benefits of the oil and gas industry, which continues to employ thousands of our neighbors, and the ongoing coastal crisis, which threatens our very existence."