Report: 'Legacy lawsuits' have cost La. 1,200 wells, $6.7 billion
Lawsuits against oil and gas companies based on environmental damage claims—called "legacy lawsuits" because they date back decades in some instances—are partly to blame for a "significant decrease" in conventional drilling activity across south Louisiana, according to a new report by the Center for Energy Studies at LSU. The report estimates the lawsuits and the negative perception associated with them have kept some 1,200 new wells from being drilled in Louisiana over the past eight years, translating into a loss of $6.7 billion. "The Impact of Legacy Lawsuits on Conventional Oil and Gas Drilling in Louisiana" study was completed by David Dismukes, an LSU professor and associate executive director of the Center for Energy Studies. It's an update of a 2005 study conducted for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Economic Development, which found a "preliminary correlation" between legacy lawsuits and conventional drilling in Louisiana. The report says the decrease in drilling activity has cost Louisiana close to $10.5 billion in economic output, over 30,000 jobs and more than $1.5 billion in direct and indirect wages. Cheron Brylski of LouisianaTruth.org released a statement in response to the report, saying it "is simply a foolish example of a big-time special interest expressing its agenda under the guise of 'academic' research." She says Dismukes and others "representing 'Big Oil' in Louisiana" are simply trying to trash Act 312 of 2006, which covers legacy suits. Check out an overview of the Center for Energy Studies report and find a link to the full 62-page report here; and you can learn more about LouisianaTruth.org at its website here.