US judge tosses coastal damage suit against oil companies

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed in 2013 by a Louisiana flood board that sought damages from scores of oil, gas and pipeline companies over damage to the state's fragile, eroding coast.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Jolivette Brown dismissed the suit Friday evening. The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East had claimed in the lawsuit that coastal drilling and dredging activities contributed to the loss of coastal wetlands that form a natural buffer that helps protect New Orleans from hurricanes.

The lawsuit caused a political furor in Louisiana. Gov. Bobby Jindal and oil industry leaders condemned it as an attack on a vital industry. The Legislature passed a bill to kill the lawsuit although a state judge later declared that law unconstitutional, a ruling that was under appeal.