A lawsuit brought in 2013 by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East has been dismissed by a federal judge who found that the Authority had failed to support its claims against dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies. The Authority sued the companies for damages, arguing that their oil and gas exploration activities had damaged wetland areas, making the coast more vulnerable to flooding during hurricane events such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (Authority) is one of two levee authorities that service the metropolitan New Orleans area. The authorities are responsible for protecting residents, businesses and properties from flooding, including adopting rules and regulations for carrying into effect a comprehensive levee system (which includes levees, floodwalls, drainage structures and floodgates).
In July 2013, the Authority filed suit against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies on the theory that their exploratory activities over time have damaged wetlands, which in turn has left New Orleans vulnerable to catastrophic flooding. Specifically, the suit alleges that the dredging of canals by the oil and gas companies allowed for destruction of wetlands that protect the New Orleans area from flood damages, and that those damages complicated and increased the cost of management of the levee system.