WWL>Topics>>4-10-14 11:10am Garland: on oil companies and the wetlands

4-10-14 11:10am Garland: on oil companies and the wetlands

Apr 10, 2014|

Garland talks about the continuing efforts to sue oil companies in an attempt to restore the Louisiana coast with Fishman Haygood lead counsel Jim Swanson, author John Barry, and retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Are welcome back weren't thinking about something we've been thinking about require boil over and we're gonna continue to do so and it's still war boards that continues in the legislature. Over an attempt as soon 97 oil companies claim is that oil companies knowingly destroyed -- -- museums -- And refuse to recall any more paper the damage and now we've got organizations. Civic groups. Lot of power to we've got long arms. Better soon resign and so -- companies hoping. To recover. So movement for the damage if nothing else to give the court of law the chants. To comment. And let me set does so by Sunday evening that we invited to senator Bradley. We invited different Briggs. The oil and a -- Organizations. -- All in net programs organization. So forward we either haven't heard back or -- and soon to at least. Not even come on. But in the U and senator with -- Jim Swanson lead counsel with the informant had a good. That lead -- ago on this lawsuit and Jim welcome to show. Thank you much to be here and John buried who was so weird so people -- -- in the -- and and who's leading to an organization. To. Push for something getting done John book and we sure appreciate it. Thanks very much maybe one of these days -- actually make it to the Serbia. You live in Baton Rouge. But it seems like it. Jim good -- overview. Part of the tag. That's been home the whole lawsuit news. Just gonna make you guys bring this to set up where. Billions of dollars in crude Hugo and you're -- -- -- ultra. That's right I think it goes some might yet. That that that's right that is. This has been very much the message that the Louisiana oil and gas association and trying to -- to put forth with their big PR team and and the lobbyists in the legislature of trying to. -- that -- recently we. May -- reiterated. A proposal that we made really from the very beginning of this case. Which was to -- are our legal contract. And two. And throw -- the question of how much fees we should be paid if Fannie. Into the mix of the liability this case. And negotiate that with the defendants of the taxpayers in the state wouldn't pay one cent on the on that contract. And we're hoping that by doing that we're gonna change the dialogue back to where it should be which is the very. Significant problems that are caused by the coastal erosion in this state and the problems that they're -- that's causing for our south Louisiana. Flood protection district and trying to build levees that are sufficient to deal with that. Problem in the future. John lives to a group. -- and you offer. Yet. It is it is -- and formal cents but there -- agents. Back in August. They've made virtually the same offer they volunteered -- -- and ask them to do. In -- up and the other side the industry. -- afraid to talk about what issues. It is so they're trying to deflect attention and I to a -- as the -- -- greedy trial you know. The you know I want and conducted the search for the Germans. -- deterrent and certainly didn't come out there and search. And the point is whether. Along metro area that -- Bos and Serb who. -- -- Or the industry is afraid to talk about certain. -- our own studies say. That a created one part of the state that they it said quote the overwhelming. -- Unquote bubble and that the trade association for the industry and so it said that they were responsible for the -- point -- particularly part of the state. In other parts of the state that pat let's responsibility but still responsible. Throughout most of the state. It's roughly 3036%. Something like that. That they keep trying to shift the subject. And that's what it is. Today did the damage which it yet. The law required them. To quote restore as near as practicable. To the original condition on quote. When they ceased operations. And they haven't done you know they broke the law. That's what the lawsuit is about they do it would be damaged. There were required to repair. Repair. And that should be pressure but instead of this -- yeah. There are using political muscle. Like balance that. To try to kill. Which I find reprehensible. I mean that it sent one. The the crime. -- -- -- -- -- The coastal protection and restoration authority. References. Over sixty million dollars. And taxpayer money. That lets you not inject -- -- Two. And now -- -- and they -- canals. That. Permits required in the street applaud within these companies can now thirty years ago. Date patient like within ninety days been like yeah some can now only a couple of years. They were -- it. And Aaron should be like within ninety days plot. So let's get back to yes sure. -- -- limited breaker or more come back and talk to you about that. Sixty million dollar figure. If you -- or just you know we're we're still talking about the U lawsuit filed by the year so please -- your approach protection authority. Against 97 oil companies claiming that the -- you you're as you did a lot of good for us over the decades no doubt about it budget. You've signed permits that that's that there and do what you're -- you've got to fix it. And there are those who believe they didn't fix it in there simply asking for abuse -- -- to court. That's what got people out there and oil industry wanna call and we tried to get. Briggs Brothers. Oil and give represented who would try to get soon -- happily. Who's fronting me in the of these bills to get the -- who watched M we've got. The representative. Of law firm. Heading up this lawsuit. -- skull two's -- general wanted somebody told -- it's six it's rated nine and zero he says. We're getting an update don't be a battle in the legislature. Over a lawsuit against -- have -- oil companies filed by themselves these recent flood protection or. And we've got represented to -- law firm involved Jim Swanson the counts and -- John Barry who was formerly all in the flow of the authorities and of course very well known author and very well versed in the water problems of we. Who -- rising tide beat Britain -- some people are 1927. Changed America in New Orleans. And we didn't attempt to get the oil and side of it to couldn't getting on well tried to yeah. Senator Bradley Hughes setting up and -- in the legislature for oil and those companies -- over Asians and couldn't you and him on -- blood with that said let me bring in -- caller Colombian law or your -- with the German engine. -- -- -- just want to hear or read page on the slow. Artery sure that's true. Back in that it is. When they signed. In. -- Which 8% of your question describe. -- as it was responsible. So in my opinion -- also will be. Potentially. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- June -- -- Well I think that that. That that that is obviously not the way the law works. The lawsuit was very thoroughly researched. In the case of every of every one of the 97 oil and gas companies. That are named in the lawsuit we have the specific locations that are specified in the lawsuit. Where they were working and what exactly it was that they did wrong in those areas. The laws have been very clear in the state going back to the eighteen hundreds that if you make it. Drainage on your neighbors and the people downstream from you more onerous that that gives. A very clear. Legal right to seek redress. The lawsuit is based on approximately thirty studies that were done by. Kennedys like the US Bureau of Land Management the US Army Corps of Engineers the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And in the industry people like Louisiana mid continent oil and gas association American Petroleum Institute. Every one of these studies that go back to the early seventies. Over thirty of them have concluded that our coastal erosion problem. Which. Where we're at the state has lost over 2000 square miles an area the size of the state of Delaware. Is caused in part by the activities of the oil and gas industry. And under our coastal zone management regulations. These activities have been illegal. At least going back to 1980. And Ian and under some of the permits before that these activities were also illegal so we have very carefully researched this. We are very comfortable and confident that if we got our day in court. That we can get the oil and gas companies to bear the responsibility to fix what what it is that they've. What they broke now we we we need to get by the legislature. I mean this is the only situation I've ever had. Where. During the course of a lawsuit that I'm handling. My opponents are so well funded. And have such a good lobbying and a publicity organization. That they're actually tried to intervene in a lawsuit that's pending in the courts. To change the laws that are applicable to them. To immune immunize themselves from liability. That in my opinion is wrong and and that's something that every citizen of the state ought to be outraged about. It's like if -- -- a ray of light have the money. And a lot of abuse -- group look the law retroactively. Changed their running the road like it was not be illegal that's right. Portfolio it would be illegal for anybody else. -- -- it's it's it's a very high level of arrogance that allows someone who's involved in a lawsuit to think that they can go to the legislature. And get them to change the laws so that they can win the lawsuit. But that's exactly what we have going on here. And I'm hoping everybody will wake up to what's going on because it it really is an amazing thing. -- the entities that use the example you point out that you say you found when -- asserts this. Or those primarily private property in the treason and so hundreds that how to practice. Well we we haven't sued landowners in our case at all though everything you're talking about. Stay you don't. No there there there are private lands that are involved in. -- that that have some of these navigational canals and and oil and gas canals and pipeline canals on the -- well. But every activity. That. Is conducted on those properties is subject to the coastal zone. Management regulations and every activity is subject to permits that have to be given by federal and state authorities. And those permits set up legal rights and obligations. That we are entitled to we being the citizens and property owners in this state are entitled to take advantage. And civil lawsuit is it's if there there's a lot of talk about how this is -- frivolous lawsuit or that this is not this lawsuit doesn't have merit. But those are adjectives and be -- at the facts are that this is a lawsuit that is well founded. In body of law that goes back to the early eighteen hundreds and there's no question that if we can get our day in court. We're gonna prevail in this lawsuit that's why the fight now is in the legislature. And divided they wanted to put mr. terms of the landowners. Land owners been -- the apple and being through. The industry. Activities -- what cause the damage you know some people who we -- this is our situations. Where attorneys to us to grow. Every game in the state. Are the defendant let -- hope that one problem. These attorneys were extremely were meant for example -- Condo association. And someone is doing one owners and added the Condo association. And yet not do where it where it. What. They just throw in my that the law we do. We extremely. Explicit and specific. Obligations. That the each of the defendants had. And what. And that's why we -- that we believe that they broke the law. The land owners are not responsible. -- in that department. They -- land owners didn't perform operations. Which destroyed the including their. Our so. You know that's why and owners were not being in our student when my -- Just naturally to -- to me this is -- more that the media reports. Org your new law firm. Of reducing your fees to -- border with you may -- your power you go into it. The offered who's not a put the so called poison pill that included in your contract. Which would put the -- authority or the state on the hook for the cost the attorneys already be incurred. If the authority drops the student. I like to -- fields. Can I can digress -- as a poison -- was actually my idea focal point. And what the poison pill that. Is if the -- -- voluntarily. Fire as the attorney and dropped to withdraw as the law or the legislature kills. Then. The attorneys are entitled. Two. Hourly C to be negotiated and -- urged. And I suggested that that the precisely because I recognized. That. And the in my colleagues on the plot authorities. -- that it was a good idea because we knew how political. This issue was going to be. And we felt that. Yet if it if we cork. And -- you lose the turning yet not and they don't get you know get their expenses back and get anything whatsoever. However yet because the political pressures. The -- forty brutal. You know what -- the governor of course is trying he removed me from the board he removed from the board the former chief engineer. For the state -- -- 16100 miles weddings and so what they replaced with people sworn to oppose the war what we were trying to do. Was. Prevent people from just withdrawing. The lawsuit for political reasons if they go forward and go to court. And who's trying to get one. And think it's it's it's you wanna build you built house. In your heart contractor and the current practice starts to build that house. And halfway through. You get divorced. And music you know. I want that anymore and you walk away from an account practice as well what what about -- well I think as. -- umpire I mean of course you -- contractors. In the end the the this. Our contract. You worked well for. Our. And some what. Berry and John you're sort unbreakable bit -- -- -- news break for and use. -- tries to reestablish your -- we're going to be yeah. Joined by lieutenant general Russel Arnold Reagan and except power will keep put Jim -- hopefully. John burial. Jim before I go to. And use. Always wondered if. Heck it's -- to callable. That means just what is practical it is it is what would you leave for you know what is what is reasonable what ordinary people would do under the circumstance. Take a break but bill reached over to. All right we're thinking about lawsuit filed by themselves these from you upload protection authority. If you do -- that some -- protects -- year in the metro North Korea. Against 97. Oil against companies in the claiming its use dues and agreements to rebuild whatever you tore up in the wetlands when doing a tree has to do. You didn't do it with their -- don't go to court we think old office in order to make the repairs. We have Jim Swanson with those who represents. Pitchman and good -- part of law firm that having this lawsuit. We Jon Barry Avago is so old bull rolling and he was formally we the authority and were joined by. Retired lieutenant general from W the audience you know Rose Bowl -- general welcomed -- -- appreciate it done. I know you've been -- and where are you up in Kansas City. And wouldn't win their lobbying and -- The -- -- yet do. Legislators. Where they're at their local or the -- of -- -- and seem to have any sympathy with a side. That two of them Prague and grow. That is deeply religious leaders sort of widget would normally -- essentially chemical. That the normal comedy. Powell of the state don't do anything. They cool tips just log. -- -- -- people about about train that we -- about profession. We -- would be green army issues is cleaner clean what was the city's land. -- They'll tell you probably did that they've -- clean water cleaner. And weapons that it is Bobble. Follow ecosystem as well as certain protection. But when you're going to -- community but is local support moment chairman of the committee industries led by Sunday. When we presented. Before -- a week ago. Garland he came down from this year. Presented this bill. 30. Are supported -- -- went back into a huge cheer and allowed the and others to include job to present -- recently judgments are used it to attended to. This man that -- assistance from the governor's office. -- -- -- Proclaiming that -- and retro active mostly via. No way in the US constitution. Can -- make it retroactive to produce up in the city this congress need. And make it retroactive sorted. Prostitute the missiles that about two years. If we feel obviously. That elderly and the problem. Have stood together and proclaimed as the best Zia to kill as soon. Well for any future litigation by the -- is anybody would outcome to -- our DNA QB who allowed this to happen. And at the same time be vindictive and make it correctly -- Like that knowledge and Jim -- tight. All resolutions I mean this is a throwback to the idea come here. It did -- out the blues it's critical that these -- to a world shelves the media. And -- in the the company Russian property that we -- -- to. On the in the state whose attitude made retroactive change everything this is yours ago. Well if both you and draw on this when we talk to these legislators. Away from the privately. There -- just simply say we're not going to be able to lived here. South Louisiana will disappear. We don't have the money to stay year. Dude -- do you agree with that statement do you ever tell them that in -- What they said what's their response. John. I'm I'm sorry and -- you this toughness questioned quite here. What sort of let them go to the general welcome back -- general did you hear the question yet. Do you agree with the Padilla -- say it to him and do you ever get -- and. Quality shared concern that yet to question this way. About clean water cleaner we -- -- -- they would read the all too supports. That. There is pollution. You have to do it is that -- get -- shouldn't shouldn't have to pay for the majora payable to. Because we will lose jobs. And Garland that is not a psychological operation by low. Libya or Egypt that about parents who and so long lead that effort. If psychological operations the people most did of people lose that they that area we hold down costs possible. Cleanup will be -- And if it's after the themselves. That -- -- will leave them it will not be because tool against severe it will not lead them because the pipelines here and refiners. And a -- some companies that used products of news of that ago. Exploration. So we've got that turned. And to a culture of -- Louisiana because we've been pleased that we've got to put up with just male. -- it -- in the bill line but without ample open nature will not -- so -- -- look at the weapons these people would be possible. You look up to permit step beside that it will fix what he broke. And then and made it on auto and hold on him and take a break come right back don't go. Q do to -- short very important subject lawsuit against its oil companies. Former members. So please. Protection authority. While the suit basically saying it. -- the wetlands and doing. -- legally to repair it and it happened. Like to go to court and NC if we -- Tuesday. We have retired lieutenant general straw -- with the show on every -- one of the authors of -- suit and you want and it counts -- Richmond on the computer and so it can. -- -- While I just wanted to say that one of the things that at Louisiana oil and gas association says time and time again is that if we don't. Get rid of the lawsuits that we don't change these laws were gonna lose. These oil and gas business and so much so that Louisiana oil and gas association filed a lawsuit based in part on that. In the in east Baton Rouge parish to declare our lawsuit illegal. And declare contract -- And that lawsuit actually made it through trial. Mr. Briggs who's the head of Louisiana oil and gas association gave testimony under oath. He was asked whether he could identify a single business that has told -- that they would leave the state based on the current legal environment. And he could not identify a single business that was going to leave this state. Ultimately the lawsuit was that the judge issued a ruling on the lawsuit that that. And the ruling was the lawsuits completely legal contracts completely legal and that the Louisiana oil and gas association. In the lawsuit was fruitless so. All of this talk about businesses is is really just fear mongering in my in my view. And three former governor isn't sort of this lawsuit should go through and John are you trying to tell me. Yeah I think you could actually both of us that and make the point that the lawsuit as a job creator. The problem the problem is. The master plan to restore the coast and protect people's lives which is the ultimate goal does losses. That as is inadequately funded. And the couple weeks ago restore Louisiana and the organization now -- Released a study by -- line in the former chancellor of university nor on. And -- very distinguished economist which included -- the master plan were funded. That it would create. Between 1092121000. Permanent jobs. That dwarfs the number of jobs. That are actually involved in the oil and gas industry. And so. The idea of job losses is ludicrous. The -- make. Nine billion dollars a year exporting their expertise. On -- around the world that is a eight market -- Louisiana. Should be able not only compete and but dominated and once we. Actually on some of these projects and develop new technologies. That we can use around the world. So these are great job. More than one final question. Six years ago when -- start doing this coastal restoration. The price tag was as submitted ranked forty billion than it was fifty billion Al would talk and fifty to a hundred doing. When you guys are at the legislature talking to people on the record off the record do we have the money to restore the -- It's totally not yet it's very clear. That we don't have the money to restore the coast when you. The master plan as a published document go on the Internet look at it on the Louisiana coastal. Rest. The coastal site. And you can look at it in in there you concede the budget for the next three years. In order to fund the fifty billion dollar master plan you need to be seeing funding of around a billion to two billion dollars a year in those years. And what you see when you look at the actual budget is -- that the state has a declining. Anticipation of revenues in the those revenues are about a third of what is needed third or laughs of what is needed to fund the master. On. And you know and decides it is Obama is and and the -- spiritual a lot of boards all due to concerns of the people. That bit about what was -- range dog -- Jim Walsh. As proposed by the governor industry and steadily. That would be equal retroactive speak about. The governor in the White House from the steadily -- -- area. Make him laws like the civil rights lol equal rights law the bull. Retroactive. And -- and going back to cheat you know losses it is no longer operable. That is what we need to worry about our democracy is in a crisis in Louisiana and you've -- -- run a couple of Russian. Hedo democracy. Where the governor and views supporter from Paula did lip but -- steadily. Basically trash to democracy the people on the right beta now. That the judiciary process which is real world ruled donors is adequate in law by attorneys general any court. -- Seattle and the government want to turn that judicial process back -- it is no longer applicable. In Louisiana that's a shame and that's what -- -- witnessed it people and we. John one final thing in the in the -- but seriously tell me if I'm wrong. It sounds like to -- the legislature. Is saying to us. You you look at the books we don't have the money to save Butte. From the loss of salt in Louisiana. You're going to equal weight. You're gonna get hit by another storm or have been surely the ground can -- from under so you don't have the money. We're not sure where to get the money. We can't -- you go to court to receive if you can get some good from evil oil company. Your alternative is to pay for it yourself. Or move. Tell me what to make better. Tom I would say your bag generating nothing -- had. You know that's exactly the situation. That should -- unbelievable ability to lead that'll legislature. The -- who tore that lives in Louisiana. Would not say well I don't care -- going to be reelected. I would like my family not to have to move or get destroyed again. I mean we need and frankly we need votes in the legislature I would hope that your listeners. Would call their state legislator. Call their state senate. Did eight or nine -- actually probably more and that each one of which is attacking losses. -- one of them is going to be voted on by the entire senate on Monday. As the 553. Call your state legislator and tell and let the courts decide. That's -- we want. July. -- run out of time we will do -- shall -- hope you'll join me here and thank you figured.