The City of New Orleans filed a lawsuit against several oil and gas companies alleging their operations are harming the environment, but the action by the city may result in undesirable consequences, given the massive role the industry plays in the city.
According to Nola.com, one concern that has been raised by industry groups is that oil and gas companies may pull their money from the city of New Orleans, an act which may have serious implications for the city as many of the companies are corporate sponsors for major events such as the French Quarter Festival and Jazz Fest..
As of April 3, Chevron had not made a decision regarding its 2020 sponsorship funding for major events, but questions remain as to whether or not large companies will pull their support from the city if this legal battle is pursued. Shell will continue its sponsorship of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival through 2024, according to Nola.com. The article said Shell, which was not named in the suits, also has participated in numerous efforts to help restore the state's coast.
James Baehr, general counsel for the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, discussed the situation with the Louisiana Record and what the outcome may be regarding sponsorships from companies being named in the lawsuit.
"It is no secret that job creators take a state's legal climate into consideration when seeking to make investments there," Baehr said.
Similarly, it is no secret that states like Texas have been attracting those seeking a friendlier business climate as it is generally a less litigious culture, but New Orleans may be jeopardizing its economy by seeking out a lawsuit against such major funders and job creators.
"This is one of the many reasons countless jobs and opportunities leave Louisiana to go to our friendlier, fairer neighbors," Baehr said. "By proceeding with its lawsuit, New Orleans has decided to put politics ahead of its hardworking citizens' best interests. This is no way to improve the city and state's lagging economy."