St. Charles Herald-Guide

Lawsuit could benefit our future

Our View - August 2, 2013

One of the biggest lawsuits in the history of the state is about to unfold as the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East prepares to go into the courtroom against many of the oil and gas companies that have produced along the deteriorating Gulf Coast of Louisiana. The prelude is just beginning and apparently the action could go on for a long time.

Hopefully, however, the oil companies and the authority will realize this is too complicated a settlement problem to go tooth and nail against each other to win the battle. A lot of give and take is necessary.

There is no question that companies dug canals that opened south Louisiana to flowing water that decimated our coastal protection. Now there is open water almost everywhere. Some of the canals were not necessary, but they were left there to get larger and further erode our coast.Oil and gas companies still have a big stake in Louisiana and hopefully they will see the light and not let this lawsuit get too complicated by being unreasonable in their deliberations. And, likewise, our state should aim for peace of mind in dealing with it in a non-contentious way.

One way to make it a friendly affair that would speed up the good consequences would be to determine what oil companies could do themselves to repair the land they cut up and help stop the erosion. After such a determination is made, they could send crews out to do some of the work along with funds to help finance the projects. That would help speed up the process of restoring the coast of Louisiana the way it should be.

True, the oil and gas companies are not responsible for all of the deterioration of Louisiana’s coast. A lot of it has been caused by natural happenings such as hurricanes and other weather conditions.

Our government needs to help restore our coast and other industries that helped damage it need to lend a hand in making it healthy once again. After all, it has been the world’s most productive coast.

So, we hope this lawsuit will open up the door to action in correcting our coastal problems. It should be a common effort by all who helped produce them. And we don’t have much time in which to do it.