Two members of the local Flood Protection Authority will appear Wednesday before a joint meeting of state House and Senate committees to discuss its lawsuit against oil and gas companies.
The hearing starts at 10 a.m.; I will live-blog it here.
John Barry, vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, said he and fellow board member Stephen Estopinal will represent the agency. Barry has said he welcomes opportunities to explain the board’s decision to sue 97 companies for their part in wetlands destruction, which has increased the flood risk to the New Orleans area.
The transportation committees don’t have the authority to stop the suit. However, they could be pivotal for the outcome of any bills in the next session of the Legislature dealing with the way the Flood Protection Authority’s board is nominated and seated.
Members of the committees said the meeting was called to allow the authority to explain why it filed the suit. They could be a tough audience, considering many legislators represent districts where oil and gas employ many voters or are themselves involved in the industry.
This will be the second chance the board has to test reaction from a political body. Last week the board of the Association of Levee Boards of Louisiana voted unanimously to oppose the lawsuit.