Coastal Litigation and the Louisiana Oil Industry

That which has been boosting Louisiana economically for decades could at the same time be sinking it, literally. The oil industry has found a comfortable home in the southern part of the United States, hugely feeding the economies of Texas and Louisiana for as long as the current generations of residents can remember. In fact, the two states currently lead the country in oil production, and in Louisiana, the industry employs nearly 45,000 individuals. While statistics such as these paint the oil industry in a favorable light, though, many groups are calling its full impact on Louisiana into question.

Louisiana attorneys are certainly familiar with coastal litigation, protecting coastal plains and shores from environmental negligence or abuse, but as regards the oil industry, coastal litigation has almost exclusively been reserved for major incidents such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010. Major spills, however, are not the only occasions in which oil drilling damages the Gulf Coast. In fact, an August 2018 article of The Bayou Brief argues that the drilling itself is cause for environmental concern as it expedites coastal erosion. That which is largely responsible for building up Louisiana’s economy—oil—is also responsible for tearing down its shores and critical wetlands.

Why, then, has the state not seen an increase in litigation to combat this coastal damage? According to the aforementioned article, the answer is candid but simple: money. Industry economists argue that if it faced increased litigation, it risks falling into another major recession leading to job cuts and profit decreases. Advocates for the continued drilling without environmental responsibility argue that plaintiff’s attorneys who pursue such litigation selfishly have no concern for the economic growth of the state; however, this is simply not the case. Rather, the pursuit of such coastal litigation places the long-term priority of ecological conservation above the short-term monetary concerns putting the ecosystem at risk.

Without doubt, fossil-fuel drilling supports the short-term economy of the State of Louisiana and provides resources to the country as a whole, but this should not immunize the industry from potential lawsuits.  The industry can operate profitably in an environmentally sound manner.  This is what the lawsuits seek to require.  100% of the proceeds of the claims must be used for restoration of damages caused by oil exploration. Stated another way, “Unless things change, we will continue to float on the water of the springs until we sink permanently into the gulf” (Bayou Brief).

The attorneys of Broussard & David are experienced in coastal litigation, holding at fault parties responsible for environmental harm, particularly in cases involving damages or injuries you or a loved one has suffered as a result of the negligence of another. Contact the attorneys at Broussard & David to discuss your legal rights at (337) 233-2323(local) or (888) 337-2323 (toll-free).

 

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