The Plaquemines Parish Council's recent vote on whether to withdraw from a series of coastal lawsuits filed against the oil and gas industries did not garner enough votes to bow out of the lawsuits, but it did send a message regarding the suits.
Gifford Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, published a response to the vote, titled "Changing the Trajectory." Despite the lawsuits continuing against the industry, Briggs feels the councilmen listened to their constituents and ultimately voted for "jobs, not lawsuits."
Marie Centanni of the Louisiana Free Enterprise Institute recently commented on why lawsuits such as these concerning the coastal situation do little good for the state.
"Coastal lawsuits, like what's been filed by Plaquemines Parish, not only directly impact major employers in a community while not promising outcomes other than big payouts for attorneys, they have a widespread cooling effect on economic investment in general," Centanni told the Louisiana Record.
Briggs' piece acknowledged the reality of excessive litigation which is causing businesses to seek out more business-friendly environments, such as Texas.
"The far-reaching consequences to economic opportunity throughout Louisiana are just not worth the money-grab," Centanni said.
The 4-3 parish council vote, while it did not do enough to cancel the lawsuit, did make a strong statement from Plaquemines Parish that the council members did not want to fight against the energy industry. Councilman Irvin Juneau specifically feels that the energy industry brings more good than bad, given the economic opportunities through jobs and revenue, which led him to vote in favor of withdrawing.
The lawsuit is going before a federal court, though the attorneys in opposition to the energy industry are hoping to have it transferred back to state courts.