Bobby Jindal Wants to Kill Louisiana’s Big Oil Lawsuit

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).Erik Lesser/ZumaPress.com

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In July, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority–East, a regulatory board that was reformatted after Hurricane Katrina to shore up the state’s flood defenses, filed a lawsuit against about 100 oil and petrochemical companies alleging a systematic destruction of the state’s wetlands and coast. The backlash was swift—and not just from the oil industry. Garret Graves, the head of the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, dismissed the suit as the work of an overzealous trial lawyer. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) demanded that the levee board withdraw its suit. And now Jindal has gone one step further—asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit. Here’s the Baton Rouge Advocate:

“We have asked the (Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority) to look into intervening to make sure the courts understand this suit is not authorized, that the levee board did not have the legal authority to do this,” Jindal said.

The crux of the legal dispute arises from administration claims that the permission of the governor and attorney general is required before the board can hire special counsel, as they did to prepare and pursue the lawsuit. The board, however, argues they are bound by a different set of requirements that only call for the attorney general to sign off on lawsuits.

The levee board has taken on a more activist role since Hurricane Katrina, in part due to the work of its secretary John Barry, whose history of the 1927 Flood has become required reading in South Louisiana. But the lawsuit represents the board’s most dramatic step yet, and the first real showdown with authorities in Baton Rouge.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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