LETTER: COASTAL LAWSUITS ARE BADLY CONCEIVED

The new year is a time to reflect on the past and resolve to make positive change in the future. As I reflect on an issue that is of utmost importance to many coastal communities —coastal restoration —I am somewhat saddened that the primary solution offered by our state leadership has been to encourage lawyers to file hasty and ill-conceived lawsuits in hopes of a big, quick payday and a potential fill for some budget holes.
The truth is that we already have a restoration plan in place, and it’s currently being funded in large part by the very companies these lawsuits are attacking. These lawsuits are the absolute wrong approach to addressing this problem, and in fact, they may make the problem worse.
The oil and gas industry, which remains the cornerstone of our economy in South Louisiana, has simply followed the rules as set out by decades’ worth of existing law. The industry has done everything required by law to legally operate on our coast. Companies go through exhaustive scrutiny and only receive final permitting after agreeing to a rigorous administrative process set up to enforce these permits. If there have been violations of those permits or that process, the state Department of Natural Resources should and does vigorously pursue those that break the law. As in all matters, a lawsuit should be the last recourse, not the first…

 

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