Live blog: Lawyers suing oil & gas industry defend suit before state coastal authority

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The Lens will live-blog what could be a wetlands’ version of “High Noon” at Wednesday’s meeting of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

Attorneys for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East say they have accepted an invitation from coastal chief Garret Graves to present their client’s case for its controversial lawsuit against oil and gas companies for coastal land loss – which Graves strongly opposes.

The official agenda for the meeting does not show an appearance by the attorneys, but rather by Flood Protection Authority commissioner Stephen Estopinal. Graves is listed to speak on the same agenda item, as is The Lens’ opinion columnist Mark Moseley, who has written about the issue.

The agenda also says the coastal authority will vote on a resolution regarding the “financial implication” of the lawsuit.

Gladstone Jones, lead attorney on the suit, said Tuesday that his team planned to make a presentation. Graves did not respond to an email request to confirm that they had been invited.

Graves has opposed the suit since it was filed in August. At various public meetings and in interviews, he has claimed that:

  • The Flood Protection Authority does not have standing to file a suit.

  • Its contract with outside attorneys is illegal.

  • The contribution to wetlands loss by the oil and gas industry is minor compared to the damage done by levees built on the Mississippi River by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

  • The suit would interfere with his office’s own plans for seeking compensation for oil and gas industry damage, although he hasn’t disclosed what those plans are.

The meeting, which will be held in Baton Rouge, starts at 9:30 a.m. The discussion of the lawsuit is the 13th of 19 agenda items.

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