fbpx
News
July 25, 2013

LA Agency Sues Over Wetlands

The Louisiana agency that oversees the levee system around New Orleans has filed a lawsuit seeking “many, many billions of dollars” from dozens of energy companies, alleging that environmental damages from oil and gas exploration has depleted coastal wetlands and left the area more vulnerable to hurricane damage, reports the New York Times.

The lawsuit relies on well-established legal theories of negligence and nuisance, as well as elements of law more particular to the Louisiana Civil Code, including “servitude of drain,” which relates to changing patterns of water flow and drainage across the Bayou State. Even though the industry has been producing oil and gas for 100 years, because the damage is continuing to occur, the board argues, the statute of limitations should not apply.

No other state agencies have joined the lawsuit, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says the agency has “overstepped its authority”:

“We’re not going to allow a single levee board that has been hijacked by a group of trial lawyers to determine flood protection, coastal restoration and economic repercussions for the entire state of Louisiana,” he said.

The lawsuit is the latest attempt by plaintiffs’ lawyers to cash in on environmental claims after a series of defeats.  In 2011 the Supreme Court ruled that lawyers cannot sue energy companies for greenhouse gas emission under federal common law, and in 2009 a district court dismissed a public nuisance claim against 24 companies after finding the plaintiffs lacked any standing to sue.

Cookie Notice

By clicking “I Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.

Cookie Notice

By clicking “I Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Review Settings