Parishes Sue Oil Companies | LaPolitics – Jefferson and Plaquemines parish councils filed a lawsuit against oil companies, claiming firms violated statutes, and caused saltwater intrusion and land loss.
Twenty-seven suits have been filed in state courts against multiple defendant companies, 20 in Plaquemines and seven in Jefferson, according to Vic Marcello of Talbot, Carmouche and Marcello, the lead law firm in the legal action.
The suits are not as broadly drawn as the one against 97 oil companies filed by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, according to the attorney. “They are very narrowly tailored to address only violations of coastal zone regulations and the coastal zone statute and nothing else,” said Marcello.
These new lawsuits would seem to open the door (wider, anyway) for additional lawsuits by other coastal parishes. Will this lead to quick negotiations, rather than drawn out litigation? Garret Graves, the state’s coastal czar, said the goal should be a meeting at the bargaining table. Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Don Briggs, on the other hand, said the latest round of lawsuits were akin to extortion.
Applying Katrina’s lessons to Haiyan | CNN – Lt. Gen Russel Honore (U.S. Army, retired) says lessons learned from Katrina have not been applied to the devastation in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan. Honore says relief supply ships should have been prestaged to expedite their earlier arrival.
Louisiana refineries and associated chemical plants had higher air emissions from accidents in 2012, new report says | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – A study by the Louisiana Bucket Brigade found that the state’s “17 refineries and two associated chemical plants averaged six accidents per week in 2012, resulting in the release of 2.3 million pounds of pollution.” In response, a blog affiliated with the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association claims that air quality has improved, despite a booming energy sector.
City program costing thousands and going unused? | WWL-TV – This is an in-depth look at the debate over the value of the pre-trial service program run by the Vera Institute. Are the services an example of “ground-breaking reform” or do they waste “scarce money in a cash-strapped criminal justice system?”
Orleans Parish Prison medical costs expected to nearly double as consent decree begins, City Council is told | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – The jail’s medical director Dr. Samuel Gore told the New Orleans City Council that he expects per inmate health care spending to increase from $5.50 per day to $9.65 per day in 2014.
HAPPENING NOW: Albert Woodfox Takes the Stand at a Baton Rouge Courthouse | Amnesty International Human Rights Blog – Woodfox, a member of the Angola Three, will testify about his 40 years in solitary confinement. Amnesty International claims there is little evidence that Woodfox committed the crime for which he is serving time and that he should be released.
Government & Politics
Lee Zurik Investigation: Powerful pols caught over the limits? – FOX 8 WVUE – Fox 8 and NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune found nine Louisiana officials who may have violated the law by receiving $370,000 in excess campaign contributions. Also, the Louisiana Ethics Board seems to focus on small offenses while allowing larger violations to go unnoticed.
Court ruling questions Jindal budget balancing technique | The New Orleans Advocate – “A Baton Rouge judge ruled Tuesday that the Jindal administration and legislators should not have balanced the state’s operating budget by grabbing dollars from a retirement fund for probation and parole officers.”
Parsing the Promise | NOLA DEFENDER – A detailed look at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s proposal to amend the Affordable Care Act so that some who face cancellation of their current health coverage can maintain it.
RTA, public library burning through reserves; council lauds inspector general | The Lens – Budget director proposes taking money from school fund to meet library needs.
More charter schools now eligible to join Orleans Parish School Board, but will any take the leap? | The Lens – Charter boards overseeing 17 schools must decide by the end of the year if they want to move from the Recovery School District to the Orleans Parish School Board. But school leaders say there are too many complications to make such a switch worthwhile — not to mention lingering doubts about parish school board management and leadership.
Live blog: Orleans Parish School Board seeks public input on next superintendent | The Lens – Last night the Orleans Parish School Board held the first of three meetings for public input on what qualities they want to see in the next superintendent. Lens education reporter Jessica Williams has complete live-blog coverage.
Future of former Six Flags amusement park site in question again | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
Alan Philipson, president of the Industrial Development Board that holds title to the 150-acre property on behalf of the city, said in a meeting Tuesday (Nov. 12) that a public process to select a new tenant is being decided and should be finished by the end of the year. He said he hopes to have a new developer vetted and selected by the end of March 2014.
“We’re going to make it work this time,” Philipson said.
First they came for the trees | Library Chronicles – A photo essay pays tribute to the crape myrtle trees on Napoleon Avenue that were cut down for sewerage and water work.