New Orleans city councilman withdraws proposal to sue oil and gas companies

By Chandra Lye | Jul 20, 2017

Jason Williams, a New Orleans city councilman, has stepped back from asking the city to sue the oil and gas industry.

NEW ORLEANS — Jason Williams, a New Orleans city councilman, has stepped back from asking the city to sue the oil and gas industry. 

“This is about people trying to grab money and it is trial lawyers trying to enrich themselves off the oil and gas industry,” Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, told the Louisiana Record.

Resolution No. R-17-383 claims that the coastal land has been eroding in the state for several years as a result of oil and gas industry activities.

Briggs, however, refutes the claim, saying that research had shown the coast is actually subsiding.

Louisiana Oil and Gas Association Don Briggs  

“That is the real true issue," Briggs said. "The coast is subsiding. It is sinking. Water is rising and the coast is sinking.”

He said it had nothing to do with the activities of the industry.

“The industry is very concerned about all of that because we have a huge infrastructure on the coast,” he said.

Williams, however, said he has not abandoned the proposal to sue. 

“All it is going to do is cost more and more jobs because no one is going to want to drill and operate and participate in the gulf coast,” Briggs said.

The industry had a history of providing a high number of jobs for the state, but now it has the lowest rig count the industry has ever had, according to Briggs.

Several parishes in the state and the New Orleans East Bank Levee Board have already filed litigation against the oil and gas industry for alleged damages to the coastline, which Briggs has called embarrassing and shameful.

“Nobody is going to invest in drilling in Louisiana if they are going to get sued every time they go there and do it," he said.

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