Louisiana Republican gubernatorial candidate Sen. Sharon Hewitt is promising to shut down all coastal litigation involving alleged damage from energy companies.LitigationExcess & Surplus Lines
"On my first day in office, I will instruct my Secretary of Natural Resources to immediately pause all coastal litigation," Hewitt, the Senate majority leader, told the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association in Lake Charles on Monday.
"I will not allow baseless litigation to be weaponized against the oil industry, holding producers to made-up standards fabricated to enrich trial lawyers. I will not do it."
Hewitt’s comments follow a decision by officials at the Department of Natural Resources in late October to override the objections of local leaders to sign onto a proposed $100 million settlement with Freeport-McMoRan on behalf of four parishes that refused.
The settlement involves one of 43 ongoing lawsuits from coastal parishes that allege more than 200 energy companies damaged the coastline by creating canals and other development, despite federal permits authorizing the work.