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Bill aimed at halting local coastal lawsuits dies

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Posted at 11:35 AM, May 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-29 12:35:53-04

A bill to cancel a lawsuits filed by coastal parishes against oil and gas companies is dead.

"We ran out of time," state Sen. Mike Fesi, sponsor of the legislation, Senate Bill 440, said in an interview Thursday. "We'll shoot for it next year." Fesi is a Republican from Houma.

The Advocate is reporting oil and gas companies were attempting to kill lawsuits filed by seven coastal parishes including Vermilion parish.

If passed, the bill would have required the money that the parishes would have spent on the lawsuits to go to coastal restoration efforts.

“Unfortunately, the shortened session created a timing issue,” Gifford Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, and Tyler Gray, president and general counsel of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, said in a statement to The Advocate. “Nonetheless, we look forward to continuing the conversation on ending these meritless lawsuits and bringing our oil and gas workforce home.”

The suits against the oil and gas companies accuse them of destroying coastal marshes and wetlands during decades of drilling and exploration.

An earlier article on the bill can be found here.

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