BATON ROUGE, LA (April 29, 2016)— The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA) and Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA) today issued the following joint statement in response to the state’s intervention in the lawsuits filed by local governments alleging violations of state issued permits:
The state’s recent intervention in the lawsuits filed by three coastal parishes has generated some provocative media headlines and speculation that the energy industry is negotiating with state officials toward a global settlement. These claims are absolutely false.
To make our joint position abundantly clear, the presidents of LABI, LMOGA and LOGA recently sent the attached letter to elected local government leaders in parishes across south Louisiana.
LABI, LMOGA and LOGA and our affected member companies are committed to working with the Governor, the Attorney General, the Legislature and local leaders to continue addressing the complex challenges facing our coast. At the same time, we must continue to vigorously defend the energy industry from this ill-conceived, meritless, and divisive litigation.
The fact of the matter is that every oil and gas producer in Louisiana operates under the comprehensive regulation of the Department of Natural Resources. Through the department, there is already a rigorous administrative process in place to ensure that each and every coastal use permit in the state is in compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act. Any issues or concerns regarding permit compliance can be addressed through the administrative review process without the excessive delays and exorbitant legal costs that come along with litigation. If the state is truly interested in addressing allegations of specific permit violations, it is clear the existing state regulations are the most efficient and effective way to do that.
The only parties that benefit from these unnecessary lawsuits are the small group of private lawyers who initiated them to advance their own interests under the guise of the public interest. That’s unfortunate. This attempted money grab is short sighted, and it will only produce additional hardships for the oil and gas industry, which is the foundation of Louisiana’s economy and way of life.
Whatever their outcome, these lawsuits are not a funding mechanism for state or local government budgets, including parish general funds. On the contrary, they divert critical time and resources away from the industry’s ongoing support of Louisiana’s coastal restoration efforts.
In fact, the oil and gas industry is Louisiana’s No. 1 private investor in the state’s environment and coast. The only entity that invests more is the federal government. For decades, the energy industry has contributed millions of dollars and countless hours on environmental projects across south Louisiana. Starting in 2017, the industry will begin contributing up to $200 million a year to support additional projects.
These are real investments that can move us toward everyone’s goal of restoring our coast. However, this growth can only occur if we travel a path that emphasizes collaboration with the industry, not fighting it.
Editor’s Note: Please click here to view the letter to parish officials.
For Press Inquiries Contact:
Stephen Waguespack, President
Chris John, President
Don Briggs, President