Restoring our coasts: John Barry of Restore Louisiana weighs in on lawsuit

Restoring our coasts: John Barry of Restore Louisiana weighs in on lawsuit
Photo provided by staff.
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 7:43pm

Nearly 100 oil and gas companies are getting ready for court, and some louisiana organizations said the companies need to pay up for the damage they've done our coastline.

Louisiana, it's where we work. It's where we play. It's where we live. That's why John Barry wants to help protect it.

"The land that's already gone is not coming back. No amount of money can do that," Barry said. "What we are talking about is trying to slow the land loss."

John Barry heads Restore Louisiana. It's one of the organizations that filed a lawsuit against nearly 100 louisiana oil and gas companies, claiming they should pay for damaging Louisiana's coastline.

"Now the industry would say 'that's because of the hurricanes not because of our canals,'" Barry stated.

Barry argues that nearly half of the coastal damage is caused by the drilling and digging of canals done by oil companies. The damage could cost more than $60 million to repair and he said you may be stuck with the bill.

'What are you paying for? The total of nine plugs in oil and gas canals," Barry said.

Wayne Hebert has lived in Louisiana most of his life, and he thinks these companies should pay up.

"I can't put a dollar sign to it, but it's going to have to come from private sectors as well as the oil companies," Hebert said. "There's always going to be opposition to taxes, to be honest, that's the way the cookie crumbles."

Hebert's seen the damage firsthand because he's worked in the oil field.

"I don't think we realized how much of a liability we were doing at the same time," Hebert said.

The lawsuit's has some big opposition. Recently, Senator Robert Adley pre-filed a bill against it.

"The way these bills are written they are really attacks on the people of Louisiana," Barry said.

The president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association is scheduled to testify in court next Monday. He missed his last appearance due to medical problems. We'll continue to track this story and keep you posted on new developments.   

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