Louisiana is poised to file on Wednesday a massive lawsuit against dozens of energy companies in the state, alleging they caused billions of dollars in damages to ecologically sensitive wetlands areas that serve to protect residents from hurricane damage.
“This protective buffer took 6,000 years to form,” the state board in charge of flood protection said in court documents, as the New York Times reported. “It has been brought to the brink of destruction over the course of a single human lifetime.”
The lawsuit will weave through civil district court in New Orleans. The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East is seeking environmental redress against heavy-hitting energy companies such as BP and Exxon Mobil and says they should be ordered to pay for damages that include killed vegetation, eroded soil and salt water intrusions, The New York Times said.
The companies’ thousands of miles of oil and gas pipelines undercut wetlands and cut “a mercilessly efficient, continuously expanding system of ecological destruction,” the court documents state. “What remains of these coastal lands is so seriously diseased that if nothing is done, it will slip into the Gulf of Mexico by the end of this century, if not sooner.”
A lawyer for the state said plaintiffs are seeking damages in the amount of “many billions of dollars. Many, many billions of dollars,” The New York Times reported.
BP and Exxon Mobil officials did not comment.