Louisiana Legislature and Governor Bail Out Big Oil

Senate Bill 469, legislation meant to block a lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies for their damage to Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, passed the Louisiana legislature in June and was signed into law by Governor Jindal, becoming Act 544. The lawsuit, brought by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, is intended to restore wetlands necessary to protect coastal communities from flooding, storm surges, and hurricanes.Governor Jindal and a majority of legislators have abandoned the hundreds of thousands of Louisianans facing another hurricane season with inadequate storm protection and a disappearing coast. Not only have they refused to ask the oil and gas industry to live up to their legal obligations, or contribute to coastal restoration in any meaningful way, they actively blocked others from simply enforcing the law. Consequently, a greater share of the cost for coastal restoration and flood protection will fall on Louisiana taxpayers instead.Because the legislation is retroactive and broad, it may also let BP escape paying compensation for the 2010 drilling disaster. At a minimum, Act 544 has strengthened BP’s negotiating position at a time when the company has become even more combative and adversarial.Here is how legislators voted on SB 469, the Big Oil Bailout bill:Find your state senator and representative: http://legis.la.gov/Legis/FindMyLegislators.aspxSteve Murchie is GRN’s Campaign Director.

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