Letter: Legislature should side with citizens on oil and gas lawsuit

Whose side is the Legislature on, the people or the oil and gas industry?

For more than two decades, I’ve been writing letters to the editor of this publication asking for the oil and gas companies to repair the damage that they caused to Louisiana’s estuary. So last year, when the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority — East sued the 97 companies responsible for damaging the wetlands that should be buffering against coastal flooding impacts, I finally felt vindicated.

This legislative session will be one of the most important in which our legislators will decide if they will pass a law that would directly or indirectly prevent the SLFPAE from proceeding with its lawsuit against the 97 oil and gas companies requiring them to repair America’s wetlands.

The question is, will our Legislature side with the taxpaying people of Louisiana who shouldn’t have to pay increased taxes and/or increased flood insurance premiums to maintain the levees that protect us from flooding, or will they side with the oil and gas companies that are responsible for the damage, that both state law and permits require to repair that damage, and that have made a fortune while doing so?

My bet is that our Legislature will side with the people they represent to allow this lawsuit to proceed, just as our attorney general has decided, so the repairs to our once-natural coastal buffer will be paid for by those responsible for the damage to our wetlands.

Alfred Sunseri

president, P&J Oyster Co.

New Orleans