Oil and gas companies won’t have to pay for decades of damage to Louisiana’s coast, after a lawsuit filed against the companies in 2013 was thrown out on Friday.
U.S. District Judge Nanette Jolivette Brown dismissed the lawsuit, which was filed by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East against nearly 100 fossil fuel companies. The suit, which the New York Times called the “most ambitious environmental lawsuit ever,” could have cost the industry billions of dollars for its contribution to the erosion of Louisiana’s coast. The state’s coastline loses about a football field’s worth of land every hour, and the wells drilled by the oil and gas industry have been estimated by the Interior Department to have caused anywhere from 15 to 59 percent of the erosion. The lawsuit would have prompted the industry to help pay for the estimated $50 billion in coastal restoration and protection that Louisiana will need over the next several years.