The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to revive a Louisiana flood protection board’s lawsuit seeking to make oil, gas and pipeline companies pay for decades of damage to coastal wetlands.
The lawsuit drew fierce opposition from the energy industry and many in state government when it was filed in 2013 by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. The suit said the industry’s dredging of canals in coastal drilling areas contributed to loss of wetlands that form a hurricane buffer for New Orleans, meaning more work and expense for the board in protecting and maintaining levees.
A federal district judge’s 2015 ruling held that federal and state law provided no avenue by which the board could bring the suit. A federal appeals court in New Orleans agreed, leading to the board’s request for Supreme Court Review.
The request was denied without comment, except to note, without explanation, that Justice Samuel Alito, took no part in the matter. The denial brings an end to the flood board’s suit, but some coastal parishes are pursuing similar lawsuits on different legal grounds.