ABITA SPRINGS, La. -- A warning was given Tuesday morning to fracking opponents in St. Tammany Parish that efforts to kill a coastal repair lawsuit could inadvertently affect their ability to sue for fracking damages in the future.
“They need to be upfront, they need to demonstrate that they are accountable, they need to demonstrate their responsibility," said John Barry, with Restore Louisiana Now.
Barry, who has for years been fighting oil and gas companies to repair Louisiana's coast, said the industry's current efforts in the legislature, geared toward preventing legal action against oil and gas companies, is foreshadowing for residents of St. Tammany Parish.
"If you are going to behave responsibly, then why on earth would you want immunity from anybody suing you for violating that responsibility?" he said at a press conference.
Gifford Briggs, with the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, said at a town hall meeting in Abita Springs last week, "There was no legislation that affected individuals or parish government's ability to bring any legal action."
Barry said that statement was a lie and another sign the industry is not on the side of the people opposed to fracking.
Briggs said he stands by his statement.
"Those bills would have been brought for violations of coastal use permits, which a permit to hydraulicly fracture a well, or any activities even related to hydraulic fracturing, are not coastal use permits," Briggs said Tuesday.
Residents say things like this leave them stuck trying to figure out who, and what, to believe.
"I'm worried about my town, I'm worried about my kids and I think that if you look at where people's concerns lie, that's where you'll find the truth teller, every time," Amanda Fisher said.
There is a bill, specifically involving fracking, awaiting House debate next week. It would require companies to publish certain notices and reports and hold public hearings when requesting a permit to do fracking in parishes where fracking has not occurred to date.