Thursday, August 1st, 2013
New Orleans, Louisiana
WILL BIG OIL FINALLY PAY THE PIPER IN LOUISIANA?
A lawsuit against Big Oil for environmental damage by the Bayou State? Are you kidding me? Who could possibly have thunk it? Why it’s almost blasphemous to challenge the oil industry in a state where oil revenue has been the mother’s milk for both campaign contributions and government spending for longer than anyone cares to remember. Oh, sure, oil companies big and small have rarely received as much as a slap on the wrist for the extensive environmental damage that has been a significant factor in Louisiana losing almost 2000 square miles of coastal land since the 1930s. But now, it may be time to pay the piper for all those years of neglect.
Certainly, one cannot blame the massive land loss and environmental damage solely on the oil industry. But over the past 70 years, by cutting through thousands of miles of Louisiana wetlands to reach valuable oil drilling locations, and then by digging pipeline canals, vast wetlands destruction took place. In Louisiana, officials in charge of protecting these invaluable coastal wetlands have, in most cases, let the private sector off the hook and turned to government funding, both state and federal, in a weak attempt to reverse the damage. The state’s slogan cold well be, “quick to complain, but reluctant to aim at those who are responsible.”
But that attitude changed a bit in the past few days. Under Louisiana law, the governor appoints a number of levee boards that are charged with the responsibility of protecting landowners from flooding up and down the Mississippi River, as well as throughout the wetlands. And being appointed by the governor, they generally adhere to his biding. A south Louisiana levee board, which is charged with protecting areas surrounding greater New Orleans, took the bold step of filing a multi-$billion lawsuit against 97 oil companies, operating throughout the state including BP, Mobile, and Exxon. Continue Reading…………