So what was the point of that law?John Barry, whom the governor removed from the levee authority board for leading the lawsuit effort, now heads the nonprofit Restore Louisiana Now. In a letter to his organization, he recently outlined some of the tactics that lawyers for the Flood Protection Authority may use to keep the suit alive.Barry described two points of contention: that legislators broke their rules on public notice while moving the bill between committees, and that the language of the law actually exempts the levee authority from the intended oversight.During the session, lawmakers supporting one bill to stop the suit failed to gain approval in one committee. But they were able to have it amended into another bill that was before a more receptive committee, where it eventually passed.“So not only was proper notice not given, but [the new bill] as it was heard was entirely different from how it was filed,” Barry wrote. “And it gets even more egregious: forget the lack of notice — even if you were physically in the room when the committee heard [the bill] you could not get a copy of the bill. This violates all sorts of notice and open meetings standards.”
SB 469 appears to have been written and deliberately designed by lawyers who represent the oil and gas industry in order to shield, reduce, or eliminate their clients’ exposure to civil damages on a wide range of pending and future claims, including, most notably, BP’s liability for billions of dollars in outstanding claims related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. Indeed, according to people intimately involved in the legislative process, no one lobbied harder for the passage of SB 469 than those associated with BP.