POSTED: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 8:34pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 8:31am
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — "No bones about it, this is all about money." That's what Louisiana Oil and Gas Association Vice President Gifford Briggs is saying after 97 oil and gas companies were hit with a lawsuit. "We're going to defend that case all the way through," he added.
The Southeast Flood Protection Authority-East is suing for alleged damages to wetlands. But LOGA is saying the Flood Protection Authority is in the wrong.
"With potentially billions of dollars going to the attorneys instead of to coastal restoration efforts. Are such contingency fees legal?" said another member.
The Attorney General and District Court Judge say yes, they are legal. But LOGA doesn't think so, and they're fighting back. "It is our full intention that we appeal the decision to the first circuit and continue going forward," said Briggs.
With nearly 400 related lawsuits in the state alone--he says it's keeping investors from setting up shop here. But some people are leaving with some unanswered questions.
"You don't really want to soil the nest in which you live," said Kathy Wiscom with the Louisiana Environmental Action and Network. "The discussion today was all about the economic impact to the oil and gas companies, but nothing about the cleanup."
But LOGA sees things a little differently. "We have a strong commitment to the state of Louisiana, to the environment, to coastal Louisiana," stated Briggs.
"I think it's only fair that the oil and gas companies should restore the areas from which they have made a good living and a good profit and benefitted from," said Wiscom.