Oil industry wants lawmakers to intervene

by Jeremy Alford, LaPolitics

Parish officials started receiving letters from the Edwards Administration two weeks ago encouraging them to join lawsuits filed against oil and gas companies for coastal damages.

The governor reportedly views this strategy as a way to force a settlement in the controversial cases.

The decision has put Gov. John Bel Edwards at odds with the oil and gas industry and with Attorney General Jeff Landry, who has questioned the decision by the administration to put private attorneys on the existing cases in Cameron, Jefferson, Plaquemines and Vermilion.

Edwards has said if the other coastal parishes do not join the suits, then the state will take action on its own.

The business lobby, in response, met with lawmakers individually and started brainstorming on ways the Legislature could get involved.

But it’ll be a mighty task.

While the House might go along with an effort to make the governor’s job more difficult, and the votes may potentially be there in the Senate with a bit of arm-twisting, Edwards would most certainly veto any such move.

Additionally, a constitutional amendment, which could be used to go around the governor, is unlikely to get a two-thirds vote in the Senate.