The environmental volunteers may be heartened by a first legal skirmish last week that went badly for their nemesis, the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. It had petitioned a district court in Baton Rouge to block the lawsuit on the grounds that Attorney General Buddy Caldwell illegally authorized the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East to hire outside attorneys on a contingency fee basis. But in a deposition with lawyers for the attorney general and the flood protection authority, Don Briggs, the oil and gas association's long-time president, repeatedly failed to offer any evidence to back up his claims that the state's legal environment was causing companies to pull up their rigs and leave. He even admitted to not having read the lawsuit. Clearly, he was over-matched by coming unarmed with facts to a word fight with lawyers. Big mistake.Adley's bill will make the SLFPAE lawsuit altogether illegal thereby voiding whatever facts anyone thought might be relevant in the first place.
Yet, Briggs and his members still maintain that the crux of their suit is valid, that Caldwell misread the law in allowing the flood protection authority to contract with outside counsel instead of his representing the authority himself. The judge in the case will interpret what the law means, but, regardless, the real fight will come later at the Capitol over an attempt to change what the law says.
Leading that charge will be Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, among the most tenacious of legislators who goes into no debate unprepared. He owns a company that manages the distribution of natural gas to municipalities and gas districts, so he is inclined to see the industry's view.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Facts are stupid things
Who needs facts when you have all the money in the world?