Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes have taken the lead in filing lawsuits charging that energy companies and contractors have not followed the law in restoring coastal lands to the healthy conditions that existed before their explorations and production efforts. Louisiana laws clearly say that the land must be maintained and restored to their original condition when work is completed.
It has been quite obvious in the past several decades that such action was not followed by many companies. Canals and ditches dug were often left open when they should have been filled in, contaminants were allowed to remain and other needed restoration efforts were ignored.
Parishes in general have not enforced the law and much of Louisiana’s land loss along the coast resulted from that.
Nearly 30 lawsuits have been filed by the two parishes and hopefully more will follow. This action is similar to what the levee district east of the Mississippi River filed during the summer, but may bear more positive results since they were filed by parishes which gave permission in the first place for such exploration and production to be done.
Other parishes should join in and demand that the companies that helped caused deterioration of our coast repair their damages to it. It seems to be the best solution yet to ensure the future of coastal living in Louisiana.
According to an article in the New Orleans Advocate, one of the lead lawyers for the two parishes in the suit, John Carmouche, of the Baton Rouge firm Talbot, Carmouche and Marcello, said “we know we have the authority, we know the regulations were violated, we know the guidelines were violated.” He pointed out that regulations in the laws he claimed were violated specify that sites affected had to be cleared, re-vegetated, detoxified and otherwise restored as near as practicable to their original condition upon termination of the operations.
Hopefully, the laws referred to will serve the purpose for which they were intended and that is to prevent companies and individuals from destroying the good condition of land in Louisiana in general. That could go a long way in saving the land in parishes along the coast of Louisiana.