The AP reports that a “lawsuit seeks what attorneys say could be billions of dollars from a long list of oil companies for damages to wetlands that allegedly would have softened Hurricane Katrina’s blow.” Attorneys from the New Orleans firm of St. Martin & Williams are seeking class-action status on behalf of all persons and entities in Louisiana that suffered injury from Katrina’s wind and storm surge. They’re naming as defendants 11 oil and gas companies including Shell Oil, ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP Corp. whose activities they say depleted marshlands, including by building and neglecting pipeline canals. (AP/Shreveport Times, Sept. 17; “Class-action suit filed against oil companies”, BizNewOrleans.com, Sept. 15).
Meanwhile, environmental litigation over the years aimed at slowing levee and flood-control projects could come under Senate scrutiny, despite peals of protest from the Sierra Club, Sen. Chuck Schumer and others (Dan Eggen, “Senate Panel Investigating Challenges to Levees”, Washington Post, Sept. 17; Jerry Mitchell, “Senate panel investigates levee lawsuits”, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Sept. 17). See Sept. 9, Sept. 14 (& Baseball Crank).