Plaquemines Parish councilmember says he backed coastal lawsuits based on information from lawyers

By Carrie Bradon | Nov 19, 2018

The Plaquemines Parish Council's vote to withdraw from a set of coastal lawsuits against the oil and gas companies fell one vote shy of passage, a result that pleased Councilman John Barthelemy from District 1.

After the council's vote, Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Gifford Briggs wrote a response titled "Changing the Trajectory." In this article, Briggs said that even though the resolution was one vote short of passing, the parish still ended up voting 4-3 in favor of withdrawing from the lawsuits.

Barthelemy recently spoke with the Louisiana Record about the vote. "I voted in favor of continuing the lawsuits based on the information that the lawyers presented," he said.

Attorneys in favor of the lawsuits allege that the energy industries are contributing to the coastal erosion, while those companies claim that they are not to blame for the coastal damages which have taken place. 

In his piece, Briggs said, "It would seem only logical to assume that with a 4-3 vote the council would have successfully ended their involvement with such frivolous litigation, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Procedurally the resolution fell just one vote short of passing."

Barthelemy said he is pleased that the suits are continuing, even though the slight majority of the Plaquemines Parish Council ended up voting to withdraw.

When asked why he made the decision to vote in favor of the lawsuits, Barthelemy said the lawyers who presented the information about the situation were ultimately why he voted in favor of the lawsuits. "My decision was strictly based on information and documentation that the lawyers presented at our meetings, nothing else," Barthelemy said.

The future of the lawsuit is unclear, but the attorneys filing the coastal lawsuits will continue in their efforts and that the oil and gas industries will not give up in the fight.

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