Legislature Drives Sword Into Levee Board Suit

This morning the Louisiana State Senate voted to concur in the House committee amendments to Senate Bill 469, resulting in its final passage by the legislature.  The bill now goes to the Governor for signature, which is expected as the bill was strongly supported by the Governor.  The bill’s effect will be to provide that only public entities authorized by the Louisiana Coastal Zone Management Act may bring litigation with regard to certain regulated coastal activities.

The main intent and purpose of this legislation is to kill the litigation brought last year by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East against over 90 oil and gas exploration & production and pipeline companies, generally alleging that their activities in the wetlands south and east of New Orleans have contributed to environmental degradation and thus raised the cost of providing flood protection for the East Bank of metropolitan New Orleans.  It can be expected that attorneys for the Flood Protection Authority will seek legal action to nullify or limit the scope of this legislation in an effort to keep this litigation alive.

This legislation does not affect the 28 other lawsuits that have been brought by the Parishes of Plaquemines and Jefferson seeking to enforce the Coastal Zone Management Act and related regulations against a large number of oil and gas exploration & production and pipeline companies. However, the defendants in those lawsuits are expected to challenge the power of the Parishes under existing law to bring these claims.

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