Flood Authority reaffirms it's controversial lawsuit - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Flood Authority reaffirms it's controversial lawsuit

New Orleans, La. - No one disagrees with claims oil and gas companies damaged hundred of squares miles of Louisiana's coast, but the Flood Authority and the Governor's Coastal Protection Chief couldn't be more far apart on what to do about it.

Garret Graves insists board members broke open meetings law in June, with an agenda that was too vague and failed to notify the public there were about to vote to sue.

"They failed to allow an opportunity for public comment on the resolution, so it's an illegal resolution," says Graves.

"This board has a tremendous amount of courage. They could have walked in here and not raised this at all. They could have said that they had filed a suit authorized by the Attorney General, but it was my thought and their thought after all of the criticism that the Governor's Office has brought down on this suit, to open it up to public comment," says Attorney Gladstone Jones.

The suit aims to force 97 oil companies to pay for damaging wetlands that protect New Orleans from hurricanes.

It accuses the companies of failing to maintain thousands of canals dug in the marsh or fill in those canals when the wells played out, as required by law.

"Nobody's disagreeing that oil and gas activity caused eroding to the coast, but the fact that they sat behind closed doors for months and had a strategy without discussing this with the levee districts, the state and without charting a proper course, this actually injures our larger ability to restore the coast," says Graves.

"This is a feud by Mr. Graves and the Governor to derail the process and there's a place to do that. That's in a court of law," says Jones.

Graves argues the suit interferes with the state's entire strategy for fixing the coast, including efforts to pry billions of dollars in oil revenue sharing money from Congress.

"It would actually have an adverse impact to the ultimate goal that they're trying to achieve here," says Graves.

The closed door meeting between Garret Graves and the Flood Authority Board ended after four and half hours.

The Board is now considering putting a 45 day pause on the lawsuit to consider other alternatives with the Jindal Administration.

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