Letter: Sen. Mary Landrieu should let coastal erosion lawsuit go

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is just trying to carefully negotiate a political tightrope when she says that lawsuits won’t save the Louisiana coast as she did April 7 before the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

Landrieu has always been friendly with oil and gas industry interests in the state and they have been kind to her campaigns in the past.

But the truth is that a massive negotiated or court-ordered settlement in the lawsuit filed against 97 oil and gas companies by the Louisiana Flood Protection Agency — East could pump millions into workable projects to repair drilling environmental damage and start saving the state’s vanishing coastline.

To avoid angering those oil and gas interests, Landrieu wants more federal revenue sharing money.

But Landrieu in her same appearance in her own words amplified the problem with her approach when she said the fight in Washington for more revenue sharing for Louisiana “is what I have been leading for 20 years.” And she has scored some gains but that money comes back in palsy dribbles and drabs compared with the revenue the federal government grabs from Louisiana oil and gas production.

And while a fair revenue sharing arrangement has progressed over the past 20 years’ advocacy at a snail’s pace, shoreline and much dredged wetlands have been declining at an alarming rate.

And all that time, the state and the federal government, including Congress and Landrieu, have done little to hold the drilling industry accountable.

If Landrieu, if Gov. Bobby Jindal and the current session of the state Legislature will just get out of the way and leave the lawsuit alone, revenue to fund some meaningful steps at coastal restoration may come much faster than any if them have been able to accomplish.

Richard Boyd

retired journalist