Pelican Institute CEO condemns Terrebone Parish efforts to disrupt oil and gas operations

By Carrie Bradon | Apr 10, 2019

It is no secret that Louisiana is often criticized for its proliferation of trial attorneys who make a profit by pursuing legal battles in which large settlements are attached. A recent tactic in Terrebonne Parish is being brought to light by Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch through an op-ed written by Lana Venable, director of LLAW, and published by Watchdog.

Venable calls attention to an alleged scheme in which the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources has appointed the parish district attorney to conduct damage assessments linked to oil and gas operations. Venable believes the process clearly points to the selfish nature of the alleged threat and the disregard for the lives built on the oil and gas industries.

Daniel Erspamer, CEO of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, commented on this recent development and his sentiments towards such tactics.

“It is discouraging to see the state government pull Terrebonne Parish onto its lawsuit bandwagon, particularly as Louisiana’s jobs climate continues to lag behind the rest of the nation,” Erspamer told Louisiana Record. 

Terrebonne’s local leaders have shown no interest in pursuing the litigation, Venable explains in her piece, as Parish President Gordon Dove won’t back an agenda that is singling out the energy industry. LLAW’s beliefs are closely aligned with those of the parish as coastal lawsuits favor certain opinions over others and often disregard facts as a result.

Erspamer believes the parish has more to gain by fostering positive relationships with the oil and gas industry, rather than seeking legal battles that threaten to drive it away.

“Terrebonne’s long-standing partnership with the energy sector has helped build countless schools, hospitals and roads for the parish,” Erspamer said. “Instead of pursuing litigation, which will likely discourage future investments and drive away high-quality jobs, the state should be pursuing reforms to foster a fairer legal climate, one that is inviting and hospitable to job creation.”

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