The Plaquemines Parish Council. Image courtesy of Plaquemines Parish.

A Louisiana parish council agreed Thursday to drop lawsuits against nearly 70 energy companies for alleged damage to wetland areas caused by exploration and production activities.

According to the AP, the Plaquemines Parish council voted 5-1 with one abstention in favor of dismissing 21 lawsuits it filed against 68 energy companies for damages to local wetlands allegedly caused by waste disposal, canal digging and dredging activities.

“None of us in this room knows who caused the damage to our coast and it is our duty to do what is right for the people of Plaquemines Parish,” Plaquemines Parish Council member Nicole Williams told the news wire.

The suits, filed in 2012, asked that the companies to remove drilling waste the parish claimed was improperly disposed of in wetland areas and also repair damages caused by dredging and other activities, the Times-Picayune said.

“This group of leaders understands that 200,000 citizens work in the oil … industry and that the parish collects more than $23 million a year on behalf of oil and gas activities,” Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association president Chris John told the paper.

Similar lawsuits filed by nearby Jefferson Parish and a board overseeing flood protection around New Orleans are still moving forward, the AP said.


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