Gifford Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, has praised Plaquemines Parish voters for standing with oil and gas companies rather than supporting a set of lawsuits alleging the companies are causing coastal erosion.
Lana Venable, executive director of the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, commented on Briggs' piece and shared her organization's views on the thoughts shared in the article.
"Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW) is in agreement with the sentiments expressed by Mr. Briggs," Venable told Louisiana Record. "Parish residents have clearly spoken and understand that these baseless lawsuits are impacting the economic growth of the Parish, region and entire state."
According to Venable, a recent study released by LLAW showed that Louisiana loses more than 15,000 new jobs and over $1 billion a year due to abuses of the civil justice system, which affect every area from the energy industry to health care and auto insurance rates.
Allegations in the coastal erosion lawsuit pointed to the energy companies for what they claim is coastal erosion that is the fault of the energy companies for their operations. The lawsuits threatened the companies with fines for their actions, though opponents of the lawsuits believe the attorneys were only interested in a large settlement.
"This small group of predatory attorneys have pushed lawsuits from parish to parish, abusing our legal system at the expense of the citizens in these coastal parishes," Briggs said in his piece.
Venable said Louisiana residents chose their jobs over a lawsuit and sent a clear message that they value their employment.
"Voters know that the oil and gas industry means jobs for the people of Plaquemines Parish," Venable said. "The upcoming elections are indeed critical in sending a message that the Pelican State is not beholden to trial lawyers and welcomes opportunities to grow our economy and expand opportunities for good-paying jobs for all Louisianans."