The U.S. Fifth District Court of Appeals has denied a plaintiff’s’ petition for a rehearing of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s (SLFPA-E) lawsuit against oil and gas companies alleging damages to coastal land. Plaintiffs have exhausted all avenues of litigation, except through the U.S. Supreme Court. “We are pleased with the panel’s decision to uphold the U.S. district court decision to do away with the SLFPA-E lawsuit. These frivolous lawsuits have contributed to the litigious hellhole we now find our state in.” said Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. “This action throws cold water on current litigation against Louisiana’s oil and gas industry.” In July 2013, the Board of Commissioners of SLFPA-E filed a lawsuit in Louisiana state court against 97 exploration and production oil and gas companies alleging that their activities had damaged coastal lands and that they also “increased the risk of flooding due to storm surges and necessitated costly flood protection measures.” The district concluded that on all of the board’s claims, none of the board’s stated grounds for relief constituted a claim under state law. The board then appealed. Last March the appeals court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the claim.
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recently defended the state Department of Environmental Conservation‘s (DEC) decision to deny National Fuel Gas Co. (NFG) subsidiaries water quality certification and other permits for the Northern Access expansion project. In a meeting with The Buffalo News editorial board, Cuomo acknowledged that natural gas would be an important bridge fuel in his administration’s push to have more than half of the state’s power come from renewable sources by 2030. But he validated DEC’s decision to deny the permits after finding that construction would harm the environment. He also disparaged NFG’s claims that the project would generate hundreds of jobs, saying those would be temporary and result in only “five permanent jobs.” He added that the economic benefits were outweighed by the environmental risks. Northern Access would ship Marcellus Shale natural gas to markets in New York and beyond.
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