Our region has been battered by storms and oiled by BP. We also face a long-term challenge in funding, without putting the burden on ordinary taxpayers, the $50 billion program the State says is necessary to save our vital coastal wetlands. As most know, our wetlands are where many of us live and work, and they nurture our commercial fishery stocks, protect us against storm surges, and provide recreation. But they are disappearing at an alarming rate. Scientists who have studied our coast for many years have confirmed what many of us knew by common-sense observation: the oil and gas industry is partially responsible for the problem we face by failing to follow its permit requirements and good industry practices. The last thing we need is for Baton Rouge to derail efforts taken by our local levee board, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East, to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for whatever share of the damage it caused.
Baton Rouge has not stood up to protect you, me, and our neighbors from the legal consequences of our actions. We live in the state with the highest rate of incarceration in the country. Why, then, does the oil and gas industry deserve special protection from the law? The bill to kill the levee board’s suit, SB 469, will be up for a vote in the State House of Representatives as soon as today. Consider calling your representative today to urge him or her to vote “NO”!
Michael Brown, Esq.