WWL>Topics>>4-15-14 12:10pm Garland: on wetlands and the oil companies

4-15-14 12:10pm Garland: on wetlands and the oil companies

Apr 15, 2014|

Garland talks about the lawsuit against the oil companies over restoring Louisiana's wetlands with Fishman Haygood lead counsel Jim Swanson and author John Barry.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

As we have to move forward GNU. Today and in the future continues shows. Concerning this lawsuit against. Number -- all against companies over. To structure and a damage to the wetlands. And the reason we're doing news. We don't have enough money to save ourselves it's it's that simple and and that. Pressing and issues who would continue to do it. The latest. Our bread and pinion trees from portable web sites by Quinn who you're. Saying basically that the lawsuits roll wet and all wrong. And that city we asked him to come on to use that. Thank you very much that she. Will be generous giving two movie are reported that time. A week long shared trip to a said give -- a -- -- which we will. And then Gifford bridge with the Euro all and association. Said he will be able to make it dude to legislative responsibilities. So. We did try to get or company's side of the which we do every time. More continue to do good in the meantime -- Jim Swanson. Who'd been with the reportedly cultural with the punishment he could group and its. Doing -- walk -- ring on this lawsuit and Jim welcome back to show. Thank you very much happy beyond and John -- you the greater author who was with the southeast museum -- protection authority. And one of the movers and shakers when he came to the idea of this -- and John watching the show what should. Oh where -- golden and I'm sorry I'm looking at the wrong thing. Aren't let me know. Jim. Bring when we look the media. -- -- let me go and take a break here and -- you get on the same time and that's withdrawal. Say -- doing that for an hour sort of you've got. Don't confused by this or Euro and one side or the other or you just -- -- difficult to -- 0187. Told free in the country 86 fixated -- zero it's. All right let's use this hour of with a minimum set ups and maximum opportunity or you know that he heard. To understand there's issues that I guarantee affects each and every one in southern Louisiana. And throw -- the rest some of these and throw the rest of the country of itself of resentment grows as the Inco anyway. There's going to be a lot of but it was never there anymore not that Aaron. Is could affect each and every person in this country this is extremely. Important thing. Your journal and I have with -- instrumental in the Watson who's been. While the number. Oil and gas companies doomed Swanson the lead counsel in this lawsuit Jim welcomed sure and and John -- who I think is at the legislature. Great author and also. Formerly with the southeastern Louisiana police protection authority that is doing is suing. On damages. Allegedly done to the equipment John welcomed the. No -- about the damage done to wetlands yeah yeah. Always have to be careful because of whatever as they appear -- always got somebody corrected. Lou -- overview what are you seeing in the legislature where you making any progress in my concern. About how we eighty. To survive. Well it. I think so yesterday. -- testified before the house transportation committee they worry you mean the annual plan. Master plan is. Broken down and annual plans master plan gets renewed every five years. And each year course of -- dances specific. And dime made a presentation pointed out that realty. The most likely case from all the BP money that could possibly come in. Would be ten billion dollars that's particularly optimistic. It's one. That's -- I mean that's that's correct that's in total and some of which we've already gotten. Sort of create a sustainable future but we still lose a lot of land. And a hundred billion dollar plan. Which would yield a net gain of land. So where forty billion dollar short one in ninety billion dollars short on another and it could be worse when match. There's just no. In those issues much -- an effective if it weren't for the BP's spill we'd be out of money right now. And when navigating to spend nine coast restoration. There is an income stream. That comes in every year. But that can not support as the royal residence. The kind of spending that we need to. To protect ourselves is royalties. Some of it's from royalties. Some of -- from a federal program which I'm afraid that it does expire in a few years and concerned about re knowing it plus the money has been appropriated. Each year from the federal government. Some of it from offshore revenue. But when that starts does that mean that next year we start paying -- 73 million dollars a year and cost share. For the Levy system the new -- systems on Mecca morons play at this track that and what's left is simply not enough money. To build a fifty billion dollar much 100 billion dollar project. That the ten billion dollar BP figure. Every -- look at figures that we might get from BP. And all the -- to -- -- George puts think Perot Powell calls in this bill. Is that two billion -- -- -- low US amateur. Not that that's. Did well for us here like two different parts of the payment one is that from restore -- In the Clean Water Act fines. Most people think that'll probably be an app defied billion dollars and act on the thinking that there will be punitive damages probably or. Our I don't know punitive it's not the right word exactly but. For the maximum or you know the one that it was negligence. Oh which would be. And the other part is separate it's called the natural resource. Damage assessment process and our idea AM stereo listeners are glad to hear those initials. And that. -- requires BP. To pay to restore the actual damage are two separate tracks and money's moving in and now probably actually yield a little bit more money. Then the Clean Water Act fines. And and ten billion that's after ms. Schapiro. Or it to right. That's it now that we are here they're broccoli you know it's possible we got a little bit more than that. That would be very optimistic. I think it's also possible we get -- It deserved and I figured you're Missouri in the -- -- at some of that has bought the royalties. And the over Monday on talked about it. How much is that pretty here are we talking about -- -- millions. Well it looks -- the amount of royalties come in every year is around 33 million dollars a year that -- we're getting now yeah and the that Comesa which is the revenue sharing. Is projected to be somewhere between -- 1101000000. And 200 million dollars a year. Lynch's two of them -- threw thirty to forty per year. Correct correct and that's right that's still a long ways from. -- you're doing right. Men need this other program called quip or coastal wetlands planning protection and restoration act that's about eighty million a year but that's one that expires in a few years. And that we that's range from 38 million a year so again that's subject though all the constraints in the fight in Washington and plots and expires. And then you subtract from all that. The 73 million dollars a year that we have to pay back the -- of course here. So we're looking at everything you do so they're probably 350. Years the most reasonable figure we're looking. Well again it is the and it probably lesson I think. Most it could be probably somewhere between on one guy even in 21 point five million. It -- and it's you know clippers it is questionable. Had a lot of program. 500 million dollars in the past coastal who cares what the name of the program as. But but. That program was not renewed. And I am concerned that's gonna happen equip. I'm glad I don't understand these figures that are of them this for a long time in the very acronyms you get out. You bring it kind of -- to march. When you start talking about all the different funding. But it we look at this 1252. And one -- five million. The salute to -- the -- that we don't have the money to save ourselves is that an excellent race. And yeah that is definitely the case she can look. Right at table four point one which -- the projected three year revenues under the master plan. It's a table that's in the master plan and you concede that for the next three years in fifteen. Others around 670. Million. In earlier the -- per year in in fiscal year 2016. There's 510 million in fiscal year. 17451. Million to concede that the Brooke recurring sources of revenue are declining. And you concede that it's nowhere near the billion dollars a year that's necessary and a lot of the funds that are in this plan now RBP related funds. That are not only her hope -- yeah. That that we have currently it yes. And wouldn't wouldn't that they run or very just elected through certain years and then it stops or. On the putting -- in the world what's the status of that. Well the biggest. Amount of money came from Clean Water Act finds -- repaid by defendants who have have already settled the case of that money came in already and his. Being dispersed over the next. Following three years there are also an advance payment to BP made that was that billion dollars which we shared among a number of states. And from that we're receiving. Some 75 million. In 201590000000. And 2016 and 61000000 and 2070. All right good let's move to an opinion please. Order of our local web site to quote in the heal your. And we invited him into the show and whose caption playing couldn't do it. He's sort of weird forgive rain -- he would come back. Let's get it and some of the things that he claimed he basically said the the lawsuit. Is all way. And he said neither. Sultans Louisiana plant protection authority. East plaque government germs and -- have in -- authority to suit John your response. Well I mean -- authority ruled that the flood protection authority. As losses. It is you know should go for. Our ability to do was trounced. By logos in oil and gas association in the court -- And that's why the industry is trying to kill lawsuit in the lights which -- present -- We can go forward but as far as the Paris's they have explicit. Authority to enforce certain coastal zone regulations. Explicitly in the -- trying to do that so. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Wind you're you're lobbying in there and working for the as -- talked to a legislator all the record do they ever say idiot you know we don't have the authority or didn't have the authority to soon. And they and that they do what they say anything responds to your your answered her answer. Seems to be something good of the argument and. Well honestly. That's quieted down a lot since the court ruled I have really heard that. So. That point seems to be moved to united and making it much anymore. And there and boredom. From my own personal part with a more particularly those parts of his opinion piece. Where's that it's not only -- oil and gas industry that destroyed the Marshall. Well that that's certainly true. You know we never claimed that it was. Only the oil and gas industry. Nobody knows this book lawsuit is that it's all oil and gas however. Part of the damage has been caused by oil and gas the industry itself says so. The same. Trade association for the major oil companies -- -- study about twenty years ago the whole state part of the state. And they said quote the overwhelming majority unquote. Of the -- loss and an area was caused by their own operations. The state department of natural resource is looked at the character and terror -- basins. And concluded. In 2006. That 76%. Of the land loss. Was caused by the oil and gas industry in terms. This all southeast Louisiana basically the after the state. There was the US Geological Survey started in 2002 which included everybody. Included. Exxon and AMOCO scientists to and other industry. Players included the court mention Ayers included. National oceanographic. Including -- National laboratory Louisiana universities. And the consensus view not disputed by industry. Was that throughout southeast Louisiana. Going basically halfway across the state. 36%. Of the land loss was caused. By the industry so that's why I said at the beginning when you said the alleged evidence that it's not alleged everybody concedes that the industry did the damage. In all the lawsuit seeks to do. As your listeners have probably heard me say before. It is that is at the industry obeyed the law which required them. Too well restore the land. After -- -- their operations. That's you know honor their contractual obligations. Departments. And Obey the law in probably Jim I'm sure command. On that he'd been a lawyer. Well -- the lawsuit is very specific. It it outlines the township and range is where each of the 97 oil and gas companies operated. And it opera it yet. Includes the permit numbers in the permits that they were operating under and each of the years. It includes a particular. Coastal zone regulations which are applicable to their activities in those areas. And so. You know it's it's very clear very easy very possible for us. To identify exactly where these companies operated and exactly what damage was done. The interesting thing about this case that it makes it I think different than than many other cases I've had is that you have aerial photographs. Going back to the fifties all the way up through the present and say you can look at every single section of land out there. Off it in the in the buffer zone and see exactly how the did damage and erosion evolved over the time frame which is. Very specific. Evidence that wouldn't be available in in in -- in a regular case. Arms were -- about the -- lawsuit against oil and gas companies here in the museum of destruction of wetlands. They -- 97 companies gonna take a break for news. For the listeners out there the oil and gives representatives. Would try to get them on the run billable. We're -- get the religiously towards that are fighting on the side of the oil companies they weren't available either so we'll continue this conversation. You've got to experts appear if you got questions or comments to 60187. Me. To -- -- six X 890. Heaps of state. Welcome back we continue our conversation concerning. Lawsuits against 97 oil and gas companies who move Louisiana forward destruction of wetlands. When they were building. To get to Weld's. To get to the rig. And we have asked both sides of the weather's. Both the legislative side panel guests. People would call work and it'll do you have Jim want to lead counsel in this lawsuit. John Barry one of Leo authors of the lawsuit and former member of -- so these rooms and flood protection authority he's. That use the region later in the lawsuit so. Jim we -- we were just talking. I was curious. Let's let's say we got the fifty billion Bill Gates comes into -- -- fifty billion dollars hitters news. That doesn't stop the loss doesn't that doesn't say okay here's where we are now let's implement the plans. And virtually normal losses concern continued. Now this comes right out of figure five point 11 of the master plan and five point 12. And even under the if the fifty billion dollars was funded. By the year 2031. We would have lost. Under the what they called base case scenario. Around another 400 square miles of land and under at the what they called the less optimistic scenario by 2061. We just lost another 1000 square miles of land even if the fifty billion dollars is funded that's why. They date they used to range between fifty and a hundred billion. To stop the land loss and to start rebuilding land. In a time frame that is gonna make a difference. Really requires a hundred billion dollar by. Imagine in the of this state in the union with -- -- talk shows saying well we have we don't give it to billion balloons about -- -- and if we don't get that could be 2000 square -- it is absolutely amazing to me Vincent natural emergency. Pros go back -- -- John -- Leo we start off. Talking about your opinion piece on the border of our local web sites by a wind killed here. Being used professional journalists. Worked for a magazine. And he basically said this lawsuit is is all wet. And and one of the progress she's said it's virtually impossible. To apportion blame to root in the of these oil companies John. Well I mean that actually quest and as much effort -- have got more I mean the attorneys. Know who operated. Practically bound to the square inch on each canal and for how long operated I mean as a complicated yes. But courts. Solve complicated problems every day to tackle losses would be. Good example. He also went. And quote different estimates. Of land lost just prove how complicated it is Spain and they range from 10% to 88%. The landlord -- responsibility in the industry what that actually Wear slacks is different areas of the state. In some areas it is 7080%. Of the land loss. Responsible. The responsibility of the industry but in other areas of the state it's 10% or maybe that'll happen. That that they're responsible for that that's why there's this enormous range. It estimates. Not because as scientists can't find any agreement. And one of the things that that has been set is that there's sort of a than a shotgun approach taken to this lawsuit nothing really. Could be further from this from the truth as I mentioned before. In every instance we have the specific. Area in which the defendant operated. Several of the defendants have come to us and said. What can you can you be more specific about what damage we have caused and in every case we sat down and met with them. And given them specifics of what damage was caused by their particular activities. Which is really easier than you would think it would be because of the aerial photographs that demonstrate. And you can see right when the canals went in and then you concede the land around that area slowly eroding over time. It's very dramatic when you look at a time series it's that's across. You know five or ten years but. But it's it's quite it's quite easy to isolate and we've done that many cases already. All right let's bring you more of our listeners Steve you've been -- -- -- -- -- -- Yes it happened you know yeah -- do good. Basic questionnaires. Now I'll work and -- -- spiritual prosperity very ears. As millions of jobs that brought to this day. There was thousands and thousands are niche that well -- through this day. Entry probably not leases to land elements -- president presently Italy. -- and all concrete. And you know what I used. There's all around the rage felt. Sure -- -- dredged canals and I've got to figure out what basis. You can -- -- and just because some monitors the canal. When you know they go back here and it replaced. A lot of Hawaiian -- -- and how you differentiate what it damages. What damage was caused by -- should. All right -- hello -- shrugged -- Truman answered June oh. All right yet the that the first question I think it was and embedded in there is. What are the sources of the legal theories on which this lawsuit is based in those are not. Controversial or particularly novel sources the first is that the Louisiana civil code has had. Provisions in at the Paula back to the guy just 1808. And work codified in the the civil code of of 1870. That address. Drainage. And and making obligations of drainage more onerous for up -- joining property owners and so. There's -- -- established body of laws that that covers that and it's not in the legal world is not controversial. In the slightest. The second source of a liability is. These permits that are often talked about. And yes a permit does give you basically a license it's it's quite similar to having a driver's license. And just because you have a driver's license doesn't mean that you can run through red lights or drive a hundred miles an hour on the interstate. And if you're going to run a red light even with a valid driver's license and you hit a grandmothers in the intersection. Then you're responsible for the injuries that you cause that is no different than than our lawsuit so. Yes there are lawful activities you can do under your permits but you have to live with in the confines of law. The third source of for obligation in this case our coastal zone regulations that have been in place for. Around forty years at this point and they specifically. Set forth what your obligations are when you're working in the in the areas. To restore the marshland when you're done. Done working self. When you kind of pick this thing apart there's nothing novel nothing controversy -- Nothing that really is outside the realm of what. Any lawyer who is familiar with the blue laws that cover of this area in in this state. Have seen before. Aren't going to take a quick break here would come and -- back a bit of the and congratulations. To a Kevin Carmen you wouldn't hurt ticket suggests that valued. At 170. Dollars. Don't forget ago ordered governor of bureau revealed painful period for no way to wind randomly select ten winners midnight Thursday April when the port. Through this. All right we're still talking about the lawsuit against or company isn't museum of John -- with a -- Jim Schwartz and Jim is would the the lead counsel in this lawsuit Jim. When I had a senator at Leo and not sit and permits it's you have got to. -- replay in these canals were treated me no longer than him and -- symbol that's physically impossible because we need to go back and it turns to -- And won't support in the thing won't hold. Or what are your thoughts there. Well I think that one of the things that could've been done and should have been done is to maintain the spoil banks on these canals so that. Salt water would not come through though the sides of the canals and into the march and kill the march. And that's been fairly standard -- Language under the coastal zone regulations since his earliest 1980. It's also language that is contained in many. Of the permits to permits all have different. Language you have to look at the specific ones but it's. Contained in many of the permits it's entirely practical and and it's something that that that should have been done if they were gonna operate lawfully under our. Specific regulations and under the specific language of the permits that's what the lawsuits about. Jones. Well I mean sometimes can back pills sometimes he'd do something now. But what the scanner can fix a particular place. Then that dozens. Excuse. Companies from liability from not complying with the law. And and that contractual obligations and in those cases. That's when I would think they would would provides some money to the plot a Florida. So that the plot authorities could invest that money in the flood protection to protect people's lives and property that is what the lawsuit. It is all about when it comes right down to -- One of the things that John points out you all all the time which I think it's an incredibly powerful point is. That the master plan itself includes a lot of restoration work. To fix these oil and gas canals that's. Taxpayer money that is going to be spent to fix a problem that was created by unlawful activities of oil and gas company. Prices that we've identified at least -- 124 million dollars which taxpayers have paid. To fix things that. The oil companies explicitly. Agreed to fix themselves in the air permits for example. You know plug canals within ninety days after the cease operations years later in some cases decades later nothing's been done. So -- listeners you and guy in Japan are all paying. For. Sixteen. Things that the companies specifically. Explicitly. Are responsible for the fix themselves forget about -- indirect damage. And I think this is really kind of outrageous that our our tax saving governor. Wants taxpayers. To pay to fix things that. The most profitable. Industry in the history of the world. -- and explicitly agreed to pay depict themselves. John dog today an important -- in the legislature. Every day is important but today there is a vote on the senate floor. Time there are about to abruptly and bills each of which takes a different angle of attack at the losses. And I would hope that Euro Lester has might pick up the phone and call their state senator. Particularly if they live on the West Bank. And and let them know that they think the courts should decide this. Whether they think the lawsuit is a good idea or -- terrible idea I think everyone idealist as would agree with one point. And that is that nobody is about the law. And the idea that the industry will come in and use its political muscle. To prevent the courts from hearing -- case. Because. They could lose the case I think would lose -- case I'd find that. -- offensive and I think that. All your listeners would agree. That everybody should be equal before the law this lawsuit has been filed. Courts have already ruled that it's a legitimate lawsuit and legitimate claim. And it's -- helpful. For the legislature to and then being as it is it's just wrong. And and I hope that early you know it it's amazing how few people can make a difference. As some your listeners probably know why I've made not bones is an historian so to speak. I can tell you as an historian. History does not happen it doesn't just happen people make. History. And a little thing like the phone call to the state representative and state today estates that are. Actually matters and people -- hand making history. By affecting those votes. And the senator George -- numbers 22534. To 24. Goodies you understand or remember. -- plugged Baton Rouge. Area code 342. And then when reporting. We'll put on our website John and Jim. That's the shores up the last hopefully we get to -- next on. Thank you for the time and -- Thank you thank you very much governor of the -- celebrity -- moral five Korea. Or do not go away and Jones come up going to be talked in the bow to residents who room for a -- PD and general FD -- workers. I think they're relaxing that -- she's got details don't go away.