The fight over a levee board lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies is heating up in the state Legislature. That's the topic of this week's Commentary by Eyewitness News Political Analyst and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos.

Clancy DuBos / Eyewitness News Political Analyst

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The Bill of Rights guarantees everyone access to the courts to resolve disputes.

But apparently some folks aren't comfortable with that right.

The oil and gas industry, some lawmakers, and Governor Jindal are pushing bills to kill a lawsuit filed last summer against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies. The lawsuit accuses the companies of accelerating coastal erosion and increasing the threat of flooding in southeast Louisiana.

Whether you agree with the lawsuit or not, there's something profoundly un-American about manipulating the political process to kill a lawsuit before it gets heard.

The bills also undermine the political independence of the flood protection board that was specifically created, after Hurricane Katrina, to take politics out of the process of selecting board members.

Coastal erosion happens silently, constantly, for many reasons.

Unless people speak up, these bills will pass, because the energy industry is rich and powerful, and it has friends in high places. But the future of our wetlands is not in the hands of lawmakers. It's in the hands of Louisiana citizens, who have a choice, right now: Speak up to save the coast, or remain silent, and let it go.


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