Letter: Adley should be more concerned about loss of wetlands

State. Sen. Robert Adley has written to confirm his respect for the rule of law and to deplore what he described as possibly the “worse case of neglect and law breaking” that he had ever seen. This grandiose statement was in reference to the suit that the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority–East has filed against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies.

Astoundingly it is not the failure of those companies to comply with the laws requiring repair of damages caused by their drilling, damming and dredging that so irks him. No, the worst case of law breaking he has ever witnessed is a possible violation of La. Revised Statute 42:263, dealing with the hiring of counsel.

The loss of wetlands suffered by this state is not only an environmental disaster. Without the protection of wetlands that once reduced storm surge, our property is threatened and lives are jeopardized. Since 1940, we have lost an amount of wetlands equal in size to the state of Delaware. In a 2002 study, the U.S. Geological Survey attributed 36 percent of this loss to industry activity.

Adley concludes by likening Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s failure to address this procedural question as tantamount to fiddling “while Rome is burning.” Adley needs to realize that this is not Rome, it is Louisiana and we are not burning; we are washing away.

Bravo to John Barry and those members of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority–East who remain devoted to compelling the oil and gas industry to comply with the law and live up to commitments made when they received permits to dredge our coast.

W. Keith Hurtt

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New Orleans