Following a series of coastal lawsuits that have been filed against the oil and gas industry, a sizable number of individuals and business interest groups have begun to speak out against what they believe to be unfair blame being placed on a single industry, when the situation is much more complicated.
Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association President Tyler Gray recently wrote an op-ed in The Advocate condemning the legal attacks being levied against the oil and gas industry, with numerous reasons as to why the blame is unwarranted.
According to Gray, the oil and gas industry – despite claims to the contrary – has brought over 260,000 jobs to the state of Louisiana. Additionally, the industry contributes more than $2 billion in annual state taxes. Gray points out that instead of harming the environment, the oil and gas industry has been one of the main players when it comes to improving the conditions following hurricanes and helping to fund protective measure against future hurricanes.
Renee Amar, vice president for government affairs of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, also explained why she fears the lawsuits are perpetuating false beliefs about the coast and energy industry.
“This type of state-sanctioned litigation is exactly what has earned Louisiana the dubious title of one of the nation's worst 'judicial hellholes,'” Amar told Louisiana Record. "What's worse is that this attack on job creators by a small group of over-eager and ambitious trial attorneys inevitably costs Louisiana's working families."
Amar said the lawsuits are usually unsuccessful, while also leaving a path of hard feelings and reduced corporate investment behind rather than improving anything.
“Not only have lawsuits like this historically failed, they only serve to exacerbate the negative impacts on Louisiana's struggling job market,” Amar said. "It's beyond time our elected leaders recognize their mistakes, abandon this ill-fated strategy and get to work on making our state one that is truly inviting and hospitable to job creation."