In the wake of a series of coastal lawsuits that have been filed against the oil and gas industry, individuals and business interest groups are speaking out against what they believe to be unfair blame being placed on a single industry.
Tyler Gray, president of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, recently contributed to The Advocate in an op-ed in which he decries the legal attacks being levied against the oil and gas industry.
In Gray’s piece, he points out the benefits that the industry has brought to the state of Louisiana, including creating more than 260,000 jobs and paying over $2 billion in state taxes. Additionally, Gray said that instead of harming the environment, the gas and oil industry has been one of the key players in improving the conditions following hurricanes and helping to fund protective measure against them.
“It’s time for Louisiana to buck the trend of suing oil and gas companies over alleged damages from permitted production activities that occurred decades ago,” Lana Venable, executive director of the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, told Louisiana Record. “These lawsuits attempt to stretch the law beyond its intentions while ignoring critical facts and involving private lawyers in a space intended for democratically elected decision makers.”
Like Gray, Venable believes the oil and gas industry is doing more than anyone else to help protect the coast, which stands contrary to the allegations made by trial attorneys working for municipal and parish governments.
“It is often overlooked that the oil and gas industry is the leading private investor in our coast,” Venable said. "In addition to providing quality jobs for Louisiana families, these companies also provide state and local treasuries with direct and indirect taxes and fees generated from their operations."
Venable remains hopeful that the plaintiffs soon will be able to move past pointing the blame.
“These lawsuits remain one of the biggest hurdles to the continued growth and expansion of the industry in Louisiana,” Venable said.