Barry says lawsuit necessary

One week after U. S. Sen. Mary Landrieu touted federal aid as a way to address coastal erosion, author John Barry offered a different view Monday.

“It is unlikely we are going to get anything from the federal government anytime soon,” Barry told the House Transportation Committee.

“Hope is not a plan,” he said.

Barry is a former member of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East and a key backer of a lawsuit against nearly 100 oil and gas firms.

The legal action contends that the energy firms should pay billions of dollars to restore coastal wetlands that the plaintiffs say were destroyed by the firms through exploration and transportation activities.

Landrieu told the Press Club of Baton Rouge on April 7 that a more equitable division of oil and gas revenue, not legal action, is the key to saving Louisiana’s coastline.

“Lawsuits will not save the coast of Louisiana,” Landrieu said.

Barry said taxpayers in recent years have spent $124.5 million plugging oil canals, including some cases that are “specifically required to be fixed by the oil companies.”