Editor’s Note: A guest post by state representative (and 6th District congressional candidate) Lenar Whitney (R-Houma)…
The Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill happened in 2010 in Federal waters. The Louisiana Legislature has no jurisdiction over Federal waters. The BP settlement is being handled by the United States 5th Circuit, not by any Louisiana state court. This fact alone demonstrates that the allegations by the left, in regards to SB 469, are absurd.
The environmental left and the media are painting SB 469 as a bill that impacts pending lawsuits against BP for the Deep Water Horizon Disaster. Here’s what the Times-Picayune’s left-wing journalist Robert Mann wrote on his blog:
“On first blush, Senate Bill 469, signed last week by Jindal, appears to be aimed at negating the 97 lawsuits filed against Big Oil by Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority- East (SLFPA-E).
At closer examination, however, it appears the real intent may have been far more nefarious. Dozens of eminent legal scholars have concluded that the most profound impact of the bill may be to relieve BP from most or all of its legal liability”
“Dozens of eminent legal scholars” have noticed a “nefarious intent” after “closer examination”. Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has sounded the war cry against Gov. Jindal on their behalf. However, Caldwell isn’t interested in protecting the environment. His only interest is protecting trial attorneys. Just as skilled trial lawyers will do, the opposition is manipulating the facts to scare casual onlookers into believing that this legislation somehow alleviates BP from compensating victims. That isn’t true.
SB 469 is a clarification of existing law. It imposes no new regulations. Further, it does not extend immunity. “Big Oil” must still answer to the appropriate parties and follow all existing laws and regulations. SB 469 clarifies which parties have the legal standing to bring an action. That is simply all it does
Frivolous lawsuits in Louisiana have created one of the worst legal climates in America to do business. As a Republican caucus, we set out in this session to begin working on that problem. We want to create a better business climate in Louisiana.
The oil and gas industry is the lifeblood of Louisiana. It fuels our economy here at home while powering the entire nation. Energy producers need to operate with far less regulation and also without having to look over their shoulder for Buddy Caldwell, and his gang of “eminent legal scholars”, every time a drop of oil is spilled.