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Landmark Oil and Gas Decision

In a recent landmark, unanimous opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of environmental justice for Louisiana and to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for the devastating effects of Big Oil on the fragile Louisiana coast, coastal parishes, and ecosystems.  The court rejected the motion to place coastal lawsuits under the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary, and these cases will fall under the jurisdiction of Louisiana state courts, effectively moving cases previously bogged down by seven years of delays quickly to trial. Richard Broussard, of Broussard & David in Lafayette, LA co-represented the Louisiana coastal parishes alongside John Carmouche of Talbot, Carmouche, and Marcello in Baton Rouge.  As the opinion was released, Broussard counted it “as a huge step forward for the citizens of Louisiana and all those who value the future of our environment.”

Environmental justice crusader, Ret. Lt. General Russell Honore, who has devoted his post military career to lead Louisiana’s charge for environmental protection, was equally impressed with the court’s decision for accountability for the nearly 25 billion dollars in catastrophic damage that has been caused by oil and gas in Louisiana.  Honore shared with Bayou Brief earlier this week, “Big Oil is no longer the sacred cow in Louisiana.  They need to clean up the mess, abandon the wells and pits, and pay for the decades of pollution of our wetlands.  Big Oil owns the (state) legislature, with their flag over the Capitol, but as courts proved in the BP case, these companies can and should be held accountable.”

LSU professor and spokesperson for protection of Louisiana’s coasts, James Carville called the court’s opinion “The best day Louisiana has had in the 21st Century.”  This monumental ruling is noted as the 85th failed attempt by oil and gas companies to divert lawsuits from Louisiana state courts.  This is the first opinion issued on the matter by the right-leaning Fifth Circuit, and Carmouche relayed to the Bayou Brief, “For our coastal parishes to have won in this court, the fact the vote was 3 to 0 in favor of the coastal parishes of Louisiana, and the fact that all three judges who voted to give our state courts the authority to determine the future of coastal Louisiana are appointees of President Trump demonstrates the restoration of Louisiana’s coast is not a partisan issue, but an issue of law and equity.”   Oil-and-Gas-Rig

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