First, last week Louisiana’s Attorney General Buddy Caldwell made
public something I've hinted at in my talks: there are on-going
conversations about a statewide settlement. On the Jim Engster radio
show last week (listen here), Caldwell announced that because of the SLFPAE lawsuit, major oil companies have come to him seeking a statewide settlement.
We've always hoped that the lawsuit would
spark a statewide deal. Conversely, we’ve recognized that if the
legislature kills the lawsuit, there's no reason for the oil companies
to compromise. There is a solution if the state would simply seal it.
The governor has turned his back on that possibility. As citizens, lets
make sure the legislature does not.
Which brings us to the latest news from Baton Rouge:
You almost did it!
Thanks to your engagement, we were today on the verge of crushing
SB 531—a huge victory—in Senate Judiciary Committee A, when its sponsor,
Senator Bret Allain (R-Franklin), asked that it be deferred. He knew
he didn't have the votes—had there been a roll-call vote, we’d have
beaten SB 531 by a vote at least of 5-2 and possibly 6-1.
Rather than accept defeat, Sen. Allain did something highly unusual.
He gutted an entirely different (and as yet unknown) bill currently
scheduled to be heard on Thursday, May 1,
by the Senate Natural Resources Committee—and substitute in its place
what he couldn’t get passed by Judiciary-A. It's even possible that our
old friend Senator Robert Adley will use one of his bills as a vehicle
for this Trojan horse.
At of this writing, we do not know which bill to target—we’ll let you
know as soon as we do—nor do we know what the language of the bill will
be. That's hardly my idea of sunshine in the legislature.
All we know is that it will be called up in the Senate Committee on Natural Resources on Thursday, May 1.
Please contact the members of this committee. Tell them, “Let the
courts decide.” Let the roughly one million people within the
jurisdiction of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority keep
their rights to go to court.