New Orleans Parish is one of numerous parishes in the state filing lawsuits against the oil and gas companies, alleging that the energy industry’s operations are the leading cause of Louisiana's environmental issues such as coastal erosion.
According to The Advocate, in 2018 Gov. John Bel Edwards singled out the energy industry due to their exploration operations, alleging that the practice of digging canals has accelerated the erosion of the state’s wetlands beyond what is to be naturally expected. But the governor’s statements are not convincing everyone, as there has been a great deal of pushback from business-interest groups, the energy industry and even some in the natural sciences world.
According to Chris McLindon, president of the New Orleans Geographical Society, much of the damages to the wetlands may well be linked to natural occurrences. McLindon says that naturally occurring erosion could be the result of subsidence, which is caused by fault movement as well as the gravity of sediments, as the state sits on the North American Continental plate that is sinking in the Gulf Coast area.
Daniel Erspamer, CEO of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, commented on McLindon’s findings and what they may mean for this highly disputed lawsuit.
“There are many issues with New Orleans' lawsuit, the most important of which being the choice by the city's leaders to put politics ahead of the best interests of its hardworking citizens,” Erspamer told Louisiana Record.
Erspamer believes that lawsuits of this nature are more harmful than helpful, as the implications are far-reaching.
“The frivolous nature of many lawsuits in Louisiana not only harms the businesses and individuals being sued, it hurts all Louisianans,” he said. “As jobs and opportunities continue to leave our state every day, we must consider if this 'sue first, ask questions later' strategy is worth what we're losing."