After hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated much of coastal Louisiana back in 2005, citizens of the state overwhelmingly voting to consolidate and depoliticize the multitude of levee boards. A new plan was adopted with experts in hydrology and engineering manning the boards instead of donors to political campaigns. The new board, with its experts, decided to sue the oil and gas companies that punched holes and dug canals throughout our coastal wetlands and marshes. 20 different bills at the legislative session in Baton Rouge look to dismantle the boards autonomy and derail the lawsuit. That’s unfortunate.
The lawsuit filed isn’t designed to see oil and gas companies punished for their neglect in failing to repair the damage they did to Louisiana’s coast. The lawsuit is designed to bring all parties involved then, now, and into the future, together to solve Louisiana’s coastal erosion problem. It’s ultimately about providing the storm surge protection necessary to keep south Louisiana safe. The oil and gas companies need the coast of Louisiana to be strong and secure too. Billions of dollars of oil and gas infrastructure is in place. Pipelines, oils storage facilities, and refineries are all in jeopardy, as are the roads and highways that lead to and from these facilities. The lawsuit ultimately will bring the necessary parties together to solve this monumental problem. That is unless the legislature eliminates the levee board’s autonomy and derails the lawsuit.