Louisiana Bill will Protect Petrochemical Industry

A new law in Louisiana will prevent environmental-law clinics at state universities from challenging the  relationship between politicians and the oil industry.

Senate Bill 549 would prohibit clinics that receive any government funding from suing state agencies, companies, or individuals for failing to comply with state or federal laws or for damages (unless the legislature granted an exemption).

Indeed, the Louisiana Chemical Association, the trade group of chemical (including petrochemical) companies which got a favored senator to introduce the bill, was quoted in The New York Times last month saying that if law clinics “want to play hardball by trying to kneecap industry,” then “we should play hardball and kneecap them with their state appropriations.”

There are so many incidents for popular uprising going on in the country right now.  It boggles the mind that the Tea Party and other populist groups aren’t in an uprising over this.  Louisiana is both conservative and corrupt.  It has been for decades.

Having state politicians that are plainly in the pocket of petrochemical industries (from which Louisiana collects no royalties) essentially throw tourism and public health to the dogs…  The fishing and boating industry won’t survive this for long.

Sure, frivolous lawsuits are America’s crown of thorns and a great national shame.  But, suing a private industry for negligence, loss of income, destruction of other domestic industry… well, what’s wrong with that.

When the stakes are this high, when any negligence can put thousands of people in unrelated industries out of work, destroy niches of the ecology, kill countless wildlife, and send toxic fumes flowing inland, then yes, a lawsuit is quite in order.

Are Americans only going to pay the hidden cost of fossil fuels in times of catastrophe?  Perhaps an upfront discussion from the oil industry on what they are not willing to accomodate, things that should be their responsibility, is also in order.  Something about this deal stinks.

Or, forget about it.  Tick-tock, petrochemical industry, tick-tock. Less than 40 years until you disappear.

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