Lacking Votes and Popular Support, Jindal Allies Looking To Slip Bill Killing SLFPA-E Lawsuit inThrough the Back Door

“Death Stroke” Bill Deferred from Scheduled Hearing, Now Jindal Allies Seeks To Pass Similar Legislation in Another Committee on Less than One Day’s Notice

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Bessie Daschbach: 504-523-2500

April 30, 2014

Facing defeat in committee on Tuesday, Governor Bobby Jindal’s allies elected to defer SB 531, the “death stroke” bill in a series of bills designed to reverse key post-Katrina reforms in order to kill a lawsuit brought by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority–East (“SLFPA-E”) against 90+ oil, gas and pipeline companies.
Now sources within the legislature say Senators Robert Adley and Robert “Bret” Allain may try to pass the substance of SB 531 in the form of a separate bill in the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Thursday of this week.

That maneuver would not give the public time to contact senators on that committee to let them know what they think about the bill. It would also give opponents of the bill virtually no opportunity to read it and respond to it before senators are called on to vote.

“They didn’t have the facts. They didn’t have the votes. They didn’t have the support of the public. So now they’re manipulating the system. And they’re hoping nobody is watching,” said Gladstone Jones, the lead lawyer on the SLFPA-E case, on Wednesday.

The package of anti-SLFPA-E bills brought by Senators Adley and Allain on behalf of Governor Bobby Jindal and the oil and gas industry have caused an uproar in the press and the public, which voted by a large margin in 2006 to create the SLFPA-E as an independent, apolitical body that would focus on protecting the levees and the people who live within them from another Katrina-style disaster.

“The public is overwhelmingly against these bills, so they’re trying to slip this one through before anyone can see what they’re doing,” said Anne Rolfes, Executive Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

The SLFPA-E brought a lawsuit in July, 2013 against 90+ oil, gas and pipeline companies, claiming those companies had contributed to the loss of coastal wetlands.

Numerous scientific studies, including some which the oil and gas industry has participated in, have concluded that oil and gas activities contributed to Louisiana’s coastal land loss.

The package of bills brought by Senators Adley and Allain aims not only to kill the SLFPA-E lawsuit, but to strip the SLFPA-E of its political independence. The legislature will be voting on more of these bills over the next few weeks.