The Lens
5:00 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Flood Protection Authority Defends Oil And Gas Lawsuit In Baton Rouge

Attorneys for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority — East had a chance to defend their lawsuit against oil and gas companies, at a meeting of the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority on Wednesday in Baton Rouge.

The head of the state coastal authority, Garret Graves, has been one of the harshest critics of the lawsuit since it was filed last July. Governor Bobby Jindal has also been critical of the suit.

On Wednesday, attorneys came prepared with a 50-minute PowerPoint presentation ready to answer those criticisms. Environmental reporter Bob Marshall of The Lens has been covering the story.

"They wanted to make three main points: that the lawsuit is based on sound science and undisputed facts, to address some of Graves' criticisms of the suit, and to show how winning the suit could provide the financial bridge to help pay for the state's $50 billion master plan for coastal survival," says Marshall.

The attorneys also accused Graves of changing his position on oil and gas work after the suit was filed, and using misleading statements in his complaints about the lawsuit. Later, Graves offered a rebuttal.

"The major theme of his rebuttal," says Marshall, "went something like this: By state law there can only be one agency in charge of coastal restoration and all of its manifestations, including fundraising, and that is the CPRA. He characterized the Southeast board's actions as that of a group of cowboys running into a party and shooting people without asking questions."

The lawsuit against oil and gas companies will be taken up in the spring legislative session.

The entire presentation is available on The Lens website.