Flood board to decide next week on appeal of dismissal of 'Big Oil' lawsuit

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NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans flood protection board meets Monday for a vote on whether to appeal the dismissal of a coastal erosion lawsuit against oil, gas and pipeline companies.

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East filed suit in 2013.

It sought damages over the loss of coastal wetlands that help protect New Orleans from hurricanes — loss blamed in part on oil and gas activity.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Jolivette Brown recently ruled that the board had no legal standing to bring the suit and that the energy companies had no legal duty to protect the board from the effects of coastal erosion.

Stopping the lawsuit would trigger a clause forcing the board to pay the costs its attorneys have incurred so far — estimated at around $2 million.

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