Oil and gas companies have ruined coastal wetlands that formerly helped protect Louisiana from storms and floods, but Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) doesn’t believe they should have to pay to repair the damage.
The governor opposes a lawsuit filed last month by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. The suit seeks billions of dollars from energy companies, including BP and ExxonMobil, to restore coastal ecosystems that have been trampled to make way for oil and gas infrastructure along the state’s coast. The Times-Picayune explains:
Jindal said the state needs to protect and restore the coast, “but this lawsuit is not the way to do it.” [His] statement also called the lawsuit “a potential billion dollar plus windfall” for the attorneys representing the levee authority.
At a meeting dedicated to the lawsuit last week, Jindal and other members of the state’s top levee and restoration board said allegations that the oil and gas industry don’t participate in the state’s restoration efforts are incorrect. They pointed out that a number of the restoration and levee projects actually are being built on industry property or with industry assistance. …
[Jindal] also said the levee authority should join the state’s efforts to seek a higher share of federal oil and gas revenues to pay for coastal restoration.
Enviros have a theory about why Jindal opposes the lawsuit. From The Advocate:
A coalition of environmental groups accused Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday of attempting to quash a coastal erosion lawsuit against oil and gas companies in order to benefit his political contributors.
Jindal has racked up more than $1 million in donations from oil and gas companies and their executives over the past 10 years, according to an analysis of campaign finance reports from organizations including Levees.org, the Sierra Club, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, League of Women Voters and Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans.
The response from Jindal’s spokeperson to the charges: “That’s absurd.”