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May 16, 2014

Louisiana House Passes “Legacy Lawsuits” Reform Bill

The (Baton Rouge) Advocate reports that the Louisiana House of Representatives passed legislation that would, “clarify procedures and would generate more environmental cleanup — prior to costly litigation — of long ago oil and gas activities.”

This costly litigation is referred to as “legacy lawsuits.”

Both pieces of legislation passed by the House — Senate Bill 667 and House Bill 854 — now head to the Louisiana Senate for consideration.

In a letter to the editor published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune last year, ILR President Lisa A. Rickard detailed the cost of these legacy lawsuits on Louisiana’s economy.

“The current legal environment in Louisiana is harming the oil and gas industry and the state economy due to legacy lawsuits — suits seeking a financial windfall for alleged environmental damage claims by certain landowners,” wrote Rickard. “Such lawsuits are unique to Louisiana, and discourage oil and gas exploration and production. But it doesn’t stop there.”

Rickard cites a report released by the LSU Center for Energy Studies which found that, “legacy lawsuits have cost Louisiana 1,200 new oil and gas wells over the past eight years, $6.8 billion in lost drilling investments and 30,000 jobs.”

Also due to the suits, Louisiana has lost $1.5 billion in wages for those directly and indirectly employed in the oil and gas industry, according to the study. Louisiana House passage of this legislation is a step in the right direction, and we hope the Senate and Governor Bobby Jindal will do the right thing by enacting it into law as soon as possible.

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