Ethics charge alleged in oilfield cleanup dispute

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Associated Press

Posted on April 20, 2012 at 3:03 AM

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A New Orleans lawmaker has been accused of ethics violations because of legislation he's pushing in a long-running dispute between oil and gas companies and private landowners about environmental contamination.

The complaint filed Thursday against Democratic Rep. Neil Abramson accuses the lawmaker of seeking law changes that would benefit his legal firm, which represents several oil and gas companies.

The ethics complaint was lodged by attorney Don Carmouche, who has represented landowners suing the energy firms over environmental damage from drilling years ago.

Carmouche claims Abramson is violating a law that prohibits lawmakers from participating in transactions from which the lawmaker or his employer has a "substantial economic interest."

Abramson has called the allegations absurd, saying it was an attempt to intimidate him and get him to scrap his legislation.

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