TagLouisiana wetlands

A much-needed first step toward saving Louisiana’s wetlands


My native state of Louisiana seems to lead the nation in environmental disasters – both the unseen, slow-motion variety (like the state’s notorious “Cancer Alley,” where low-income residents drink and breathe the toxins from a miles-long wall of petrochemical plants) and the more dramatic kind like 2010’s BP Deepwater Horizon explosion, which caused the worst offshore oil spill in American...

Louisiana wetlands under assault again


The wetlands in Louisiana just can’t catch a break. Between 1932 and 2010, the state lost these critical marshes and swamps equal to the size of the state of Delaware, and that rate is accelerating. One of the best hopes for restoring these vanished wetlands — a lawsuit filed by the levee board in New Orleans seeking 97 big oil and gas companies to pay for a century worth of damage...

While you were out, Big Oil polluters win…again


There’s something that people who work in the news business call “the Friday night news dump.” It’s a situation that occurs when a source of news – say, a government agency, or a big business – has information that they’re not excited to make public, but was bound to come out eventually. So they release it late on a Friday afternoon. Why? Because more people out for dinner or to Happy Hour on...

How Big Oil staged a coup in Baton Rouge


This weekend, the New York Times Magazine ran a lengthy — and rather remarkable — look at what happened when a New Orleans levee board decided to take seriously its mission of restoring the Louisiana environment to its original health. If you’ve been reading this blog, the story of New Orleans historian John Barry, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (also...

The hypocrisy of Big Oil is collapsing, from Baton Rouge to Dallas


There’s been some stunning developments this week in the fight against Big Oil — one of them right here in Louisiana. It was just last year that an epic expose in Harper’s magazine pulled the lid off some of the undue, outsized influence that the oil industry holds here in our Sportsmen’s Paradise, and a key element was the clout that the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association...

Jindal: “Tough” on BP, a lapdog for Big Oil


This is how you know BP has really crossed the line: When the company that gave us the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the 5-million-barrel oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has gone so far over the top with its efforts to challenge legitimate damage claims and to cheat on its promises to the Gulf that it’s even angered Louisiana’s rabidly pro-business governor, Bobby Jindal. Jindal has...

It’s a start: La. agency takes on Big Oil over wetlands


Much of the work that I do as an environmental attorney based in my hometown of New Orleans is animated by one thing: Big Oil has run roughshod over the Gulf Coast, and especially the state of Louisiana, for more than a century. Whether it’s oil companies dumping radioactive pipe on unsuspecting clean-up workers and pouring radium-laced water into unlined pits, or leaving behind a massive...

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