Louisiana Takes Big Oil to Court

On August 5th, U.S. News & World Report covered the most recent movement in Louisiana to hold the oil industry responsible for the huge amount of land that has disappeared from Louisiana as a result of the oil industry’s “footprint.” According to geologists, by extracting millions of barrels of oil and gas from below the surface, the oil industry, as a whole, has caused large amounts of the coast to sink.

Now leaders in both parties are not only speaking out in favor of holding the industry responsible, but also joining environmental hazard lawsuits in seeking compensation to restore the state to what it once was and address the damage that’s been done to both state land and its citizens.

“A Coast in Crisis”

With Louisiana being the second-largest crude oil producer in the nation (after Texas), the state has lost close to 2,000 square miles of coast since the 1930s, resulting in what some have called a “coast in crisis.” Now, even politicians who previously supported Big Oil are claiming that the industry has crippled the land, where damage is spreading through the local marshes “like an infection.”


Last month, the fourth local government—Vermilion Parish—filed claims against Shell, Exxon, Chevron, and other oil companies. In addition, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority and several Republicans have also decided to sue on their own or join in existing lawsuits. The oil companies have been accused of continually abandoning open waste pits, dumping toxic brine and oilfield waste, and dredging thousands of miles of canals that were then never filled back in, thus interrupting the delta’s natural ebb and flow. In response, the oil industry is pointing the finger at the Army Corps of Engineers, the parties responsible for clear-cutting the coastal forests many years ago, and even at nutria, for the damage they’ve done to the delta.

In order to sort out which oil company is responsible for what specific damage, coastal drilling permits and oil leases will have to be examined and prices placed for the damage done by each. As of now, scientists are generally in agreement that between 30 and 40 percent of the local wetlands loss can be attributed to drilling and associated activities alone.  The estimate of what it would cost to divert sediment flows from the Mississippi River and build back the marsh flats, barrier islands, and forests, is between $50 and $100 billion.

Environmental Hazard Attorneys Based in New Orleans

Companies and landowners in Louisiana sometimes decide that it’s cheaper to pollute than to prevent damage to the environment and, as a result, to innocent people.

We’ve spent years litigating against negligent parties that bring about environmental hazards and degradation. If you are seeking justice in response to an environmental hazard that has done damage to your community and/or family, we can help. We serve New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, and other areas throughout Louisiana. Contact us today for a free consultation.