Louisiana Republican blasts flood lawsuit against oil companies

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He alleged that the litigation could throw a wrench into Capitol Hill efforts to bring more restoration funding to the state. Louisiana lawmakers are seeking to expand the amount of federal royalty money from offshore production that's steered to Gulf Coast states.

“The best way to revitalize Louisiana’s eroding coastline is by dedicating offshore revenues and RESTORE Act funds directly to our coastal restoration efforts. The action being taken against Louisiana energy producers could interfere with the work we’re doing in Congress to provide the long-term funding that will ensure our beloved coast is renewed and preserved for generations to come,” Scalise said.

The RESTORE Act he co-sponsored, signed into law last year, that will steer the bulk of Clean Water Act fines from the BP oil spill to Gulf Coast ecological and economic recovery efforts.

The flood protection agency that filed the lawsuit says oil companies have damaged the coastal wetlands that help buffer the state against floodwaters from storms, leaving the region more vulnerable to disaster.

“With this lawsuit, the Authority is carrying out its mandate to help protect southern Louisiana by strengthening our first line of defense against catastrophic flooding. That first defensive perimeter is of course the buffer of land and marsh that cuts down hurricane storm surge before it reaches the levees,” said John M. Barry, vice president of the flood protection authority, in a statement announcing the lawsuit Wednesday.

“The industry has taken about $470 billion of the state's natural resources during the past 20 years, and we ask that it pick up its share of the increased costs of flood protections required to offset the loss of protective coastal wetlands,” he said.