CategoryLegal

Is this America’s next Flint?

I

America’s drinking water is under assault — from careless dumping of hazardous wastes to the lead pollution caused by our ancient infrastructure. Yet rarely do these tales of governmental neglect or industrial abuses make it onto the national radar screen. The Flint, Michigan, lead pollution story was different — a “perfect storm” that combined race, the poisoning of...

In Flint, they’ll need to go after the bigger fish

I

There was a rare, positive development in the ongoing saga of Flint’s corrosive water supply and the lead poisoning of residents in the Michigan city — and hopefully it’s the first step toward something much more meaningful. The events that have transpired in Flint since early 2014, when cost-cutting state officials engineered a switch to that abrasive water from the Flint River...

Can our legal system stop global warming, for the sake of the children?

C

As an environmental attorney, I’ve seen time and time again how the American legal system can bring justice to people — blue-collar workers, private property owners — who had no other real venue for airing their grievances. We’ve seen time and time again that large, profit-minded corporations can’t be trusted to do the right thing, and that too many of our so-called...

Whistleblower gets justice in Louisiana DNR corruption case

W

The wheels of justice turn slowly, but the good news is that they still turn — even in the cesspool of political corruption that is my home state of Louisiana. Many times on this website, I’ve written about the uselessness of the state’s regulatory agencies — which basically exist to aid and abet Big Oil and Gas, and not the average citizen or Louisiana’s fragile...

“Flint’s best chance for a lawsuit”: My op-ed for the Washington Post

&

In recent weeks, I’ve turned some of my attention north toward the deplorable situation in Flint, Michigan, where government bungling — or worse — caused citizens, including children, to be poisoned by lead-contaminated water. It’s clear that residents there will need to fight back by any means necessary. This weekend, I was delighted that the Washington Post’s new...

Supreme Court blow to climate change shows why election so important

S

Democracy was in the air last night. All of the TV news coverage was focused on the state of New Hampshire, where voters in both parties were taking part in an America tradition, the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. CNN was showing long lines outside polling places in the Granite State, and even traffic jams in some locations — a sure sign that U.S. citizens have an extremely keen...

Climate change and the new civil disobedience

C

Friday marked the 86th anniversary of Mr. Martin Luther King’s birth (even though the national holiday will be on Monday). As time marches along, the brilliance of his efforts to bring freedom and civil rights to African-Americans during the 1950s and 1960s grows brighter and brighter. The cornerstone of his campaign to end desegregation in the Deep South was civil disobedience — the...

It wasn’t just Exxon that said one thing on global warming and did something else

I

The story broke last year, and it quickly became the environmental scandal of the decade: Evidence that the world’s largest oil company knew for decades that climate change — driven largely by fossil-fuel pollution — would cause catastrophic damage to Planet Earth if left unchecked. It seemed almost too cynical to believe that Exxon Corp., the massive forerunner to today’s...

A new threat from rowdyism: Airbnb party houses

A

From time to time, I write here about the issue of noise and rowdy behavior, and how it affects residential neighborhoods in some of our great American cities — particularly in my hometown of New Orleans.  My native city has always been known as a place to have a good time, and our great music spots and some of our classic bars and nightclubs remain a civic treasure. But — as noted...

The BP settlement isn’t good enough for Plaquemines Parish

T

I’ve long said that no likely BP settlement would ever be enough for the damage that its 2010 oil spill caused to the Gulf region. Mostly, that’s a moral argument: The purpose of punitive damages is that a company must be shown that the cost of doing bad is more than doing good — but that’s hard to do when an oil company’s typically reckless drilling and production...

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
Cooper Law Firm

Follow Us