By signing into law this bill Jindal has made it clear that he is on the side of the oil companies and not the people of Louisiana. Jindal obviously doesn’t think that oil companies should be held accountable for their incompetence.
Rejecting the advice of his own attorney general and dozens of legal scholars, Louisiana governor and potential presidential contender Bobby Jindal effectively blocked a New Orleans-area levee board from suing oil and gas companies for allegedly destroying the state’s coasts – and in so doing, may have also derailed state and local claims against BP for damages and tax revenue lost following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
This bill will help stop frivolous lawsuits and create a more fair and predictable legal environment, and I am proud to sign it into law,” the Republican Jindal declared in a statement Friday. “It further improves Louisiana’s legal environment by reducing unnecessary claims that burden businesses so that we can bring even more jobs to our state.”
Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, was also quoted in the statement distributed by the governor’s office, hailing the measure as a “huge victory for the oil and gas industry.”
The subtext of this bill couldn’t be more clear, “fuck you citizens of Louisiana.”
The law, SB 469, essentially bars a levee district in New Orleans’ East Bank – the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, or SLFPA-E – from pressing forward in its lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies, which it blames for exposing New Orleans to catastrophic damage from hurricanes Rita and Katrina by cutting thousands of miles of pipes and canals through sensitive barrier islands and wetlands that otherwise would have protected the coastal city.
The lawsuit, filed last summer, sought to force energy companies to restore the wetlands, fill in the canals, and pay for past damages.
“We are looking to the industry to fix the part of the problem that they created,” SLFPA-E vice president John Barry told the Times-Picayune last year. “We’re not asking them to fix everything. We only want them to address the part of the problem that they created.”
“Clearly they’re jumping at the snap of the fingers of the [Louisiana] Oil and Gas Association,” says Zygmunt Plater, a professor at Boston College Law who specializes in environmental law. “LOGA is powerful”
Guess who the largest contributors to Jindal and the other supporters of this bill are?
Oil and gas donations, in fact, easily make up the largest chunk of campaign donations to Jindal, Allain and Adley, finance records show. And indeed, SB 469 not only halts SLFPA-E’s lawsuit, but also potentially undercuts government claims against BP, whose Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, killing 11 people and spilling 210 million gallons of oil in the worst marine oil spill in history.
The founding fathers got it right when they made it clear that church and state should remain separate but times have changed, we now need to make it clear that for there to be any sort of real representation in our government that there also needs to be a clear separation between corporations and state.
h/t US News