Last week we published a blog post about the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s lawsuit against oil companies that have damaged Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. The Advocate‘s columnist Stephanie Grace has been providing continuing coverage of the lawsuit, and she recently published an article with thoughts from three former Louisiana governors. Governors Buddy Roemer, Edwin Edwards, and Kathleen Blanco each came out in public support of the lawsuit, and demanded that oil companies found to be responsible for destroying the state’s wetlands should pay damages.
Buddy Roemer, who served as governor from 1988 to 1992, had the best and most astute quote of the article: “All you gotta do is fly over the coastline of Louisiana. You don’t nee a big speech, you don’t need a lecture series, you don’t need to read a book. Just hitch a ride on a plane, fly over our coastline and see that we are literally disappearing… They [the oil companies] do what is best for capitalism, that is to maximize their profits. And the job of the regulators and the citizens is to make sure that damage done is repaired. And that should figure into the cost of profit, and it’s not done now, and Louisiana is particularly egregious in this matter.”
In other words, according to Roemer, the State of Louisiana is complicit in its destruction by not holding Big Oil accountable for the damage it’s done. Politicians like Bobby Jindal wince at the idea of taking a stand against Big Oil, sounding the death bell, going on about jobs lost when the oil companies pack up and leave the state because of government regulations. As Grace wisely points out in her column, Louisiana Oil & Gas Association President Don Briggs couldn’t come up with a single example to back up his claim that regulations would hurt oil business in Louisiana.
That three former Louisiana governors-each of them known as being pro-business and friendly to oil companies-would argue in favor of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s lawsuit speaks to how much common sense the lawsuit makes. By all means, we want businesses to invest and conduct operations in Louisiana, but if they make a mess, we want them to clean up after themselves.