The state of Louisiana might have seen the end of lawsuits against oil and gas companies, after Gov. Bobby Jindal signed Senate Bill 469, stating that the bill will stop "unnecessary, frivolous lawsuits" that delay coastal restoration projects.
The bill will result in a "fair and more predictable legal environment" and will support businesses and job creation in Louisiana, Gov. Jindal said in a statement published by his office. Under the new law, only certain groups will be entitled to file lawsuits against oil and gas companies regarding their activities, such as oil exploration. By restricting the number of groups and individuals that can sue businesses, the industry will be able to continue growing, create jobs and contribute to the state's economy, authors of the bill said.
Not surprisingly, representatives of the oil and gas industry have welcomed the move. Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, commented that the bill was a "great victory" for the industry, U.S. News reported. The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry also agreed that the bill was a step towards the rightful restoration of order, according to Fox 8 Live.
According to media reports, the bill effectively nullifies a New Orleans-area levee board's lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies for alleged damage they have caused to coastal wetlands. The bill also means that claims against BP for the oil spill in 2010 could be terminated.