Quin Hillyer’s latest editorial opposing the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East lawsuit against the oil and gas companies for wetland destruction conveniently fails to mention that those companies were legally required under their state permits to restore the affected wetlands. He and the oil and gas companies admit responsibility for said damage and express a willingness to help pay for restoration. Yet, in the 40-plus years of recognition of this problem, there has not been any serious money forthcoming from those companies to resolve this issue. It is only under threat of this lawsuit that any financial settlement may come. Without the suit, there is no credible source for the $50 billion-plus needed for the state’s own coastal restoration plan.
As far as Hillyer’s argument about actions of past elected representatives ratifying the activities of the oil companies, it is certainly understood by him that the actions of political officeholders are influenced greatly by the legions of lobbyists who work for those companies. It would be only after the electorate became aware of the clear and present danger of the consequences of those activities that a grass-roots rebellion by the public would counter the financial largesse of the oil companies and their lobbyists.
Anyone who opposes this lawsuit is looking only at their own short-term financial benefit, with no regard for the survival of their children’s and grandchildren’s ability to continue to live, own property and operate businesses in south Louisiana. One needs only to look at maps of the coastline projected for 2050 or 2100 to recognize that the ongoing threat of storm surge overcoming the levees will make New Orleans economically nonviable due to increased insurance rates even before the next catastrophe.
This would not be a problem for Hillyer, however, as he resides in Mobile, Alabama. In light of this fact, he should not even be injecting his opinion in this debate, as he has no skin in the game. He just might be considered an outside agitator.