legacy lawsuit Archives - Clean Water, Land & CoastClean Water, Land & Coast

Saving Louisiana

Posted on: December 11th, 2014 by restoreit

Saving Louisiana

President, National Audubon Society

Huffington Post.  Click here for story

Louisiana is disappearing. Every year, land mass equal to the size of Manhattan is lost–simply washed out to sea off the continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico.

Louisiana’s crisis is out of sight and out of mind. When Katrina roared into New Orleans with no natural wetlands barrier to slow that killer storm, America cared for a hot minute.

But after that catastrophe and even after the BP oil disaster, there’s just no sense of urgency about the disappearance of America’s Gulf Coast.

That’s stunning when you take a giant step back: The Mississippi River Delta in Louisiana is the seventh-largest system of its kind in the world and one of only two in the Western Hemisphere. And the truly remarkable opportunity in front of us is that we have a chance to make amends, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to restore this magical, productive ecosystem of coastal wetlands.

It’s not just Louisiana’s people, economy, culture and wildlife that are at risk. The Mississippi River Delta is connected to a vast network of waterways throughout the heartland of America, contributing tens of billions of dollars to our national economy every year and supporting millions of jobs.

Nearly half of America’s bird species use the Gulf Coast at some point in their migration. And those birds are the indicators of the health of places. The imperiled Piping Plover flies across the entire country to the Gulf Coast from nesting grounds on the Canadian border, the Great Lakes and New England. A large number of those Piping Plovers depend on the Gulf Coast wetlands and the Mississippi River Delta for their winter survival.

Louisiana has developed a bipartisan coastal master plan that identifies 109 different projects that should be completed over the next half century to help preserve and expand existing wetlands.

We need to be far more careful about the slicing and dicing of coastal wetlands with canals and industrial infrastructure. We need to set up a structure of state and federal agencies with the authority to end the bureaucratic turf wars that have left some restoration efforts in limbo for years. Louisiana politicians and citizens need to keep the state’s ambitious master plan on track.

Federal and state authorities need to make sure the money from all sources–public and private–intended for coastal protection and restoration goes to protecting our wetlands, not to building civic centers and highways or to plug other holes in the state’s budget.

A recent study by Audubon underscores the urgency for preserving the coastal wetlands for birds. Nearly half of the birds in North America could lose over 50 percent of the areas where they live before the end of this century, according to 30 years of data collected and analyzed by Audubon. In addition to the Piping Plover, threatened species include Louisiana’s state bird, the Brown Pelican, and the Roseate Spoonbill, a showy pink wading bird with an oversized spoon-shaped bill.

The coastal plains of Louisiana and neighboring Texas are going to be critical “strongholds”–places that in the future will provide the right habitat for birds that are forced out of other ranges because the weather becomes too wet or too dry, too hot or too cold. These “strongholds” will give vulnerable birds a fighting chance to hold on in the face of climate change.

This is not Louisiana’s problem; this is America’s Great Delta. To see how you can take action, visit here.

David Yarnold is President and CEO of the National Audubon Society.

 

c
Fitnessequipment
fitness
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motorcar
Realestate
technique
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
Bigdata
business
Fashionshow
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
catering
health
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
Fitnessequipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
Classiccars
evaluation
technique
transact
business
Fashionmagazine
Fashionshow
Femalemodels
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
travel
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
catering
health
Loseweight
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
catering
health
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
Fitnessequipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
Classiccars
evaluation
technique
transact
business
Fashionmagazine
Fashionshow
Femalemodels
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
travel
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
catering
health
Loseweight
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
business
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
Bigdata
business
Fashionshow
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
catering
health
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
Fitnessequipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
Classiccars
evaluation
technique
transact
business
Fashionmagazine
Fashionshow
Femalemodels
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
travel
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
business
fashion
fitness
health
lifestyle
news
Smalltools
Streetfashion
Therecipe
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motorcar
Realestate
fitness
Fitnessequipment
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
Tags: coastal erosion, legacy lawsuit, Louisiana, wetlands
Posted in Jefferson & Plaquemines Parish, LA Coastal Parish News | Comments Off on Saving Louisiana

Big Oil’s behind-the-scenes role in LSU’s ‘legacy lawsuit’ study

Posted on: March 19th, 2014 by restoreit

Big Oil’s Behind-the-Scenes Role in LSU’s ‘Legacy Lawsuit’ Study

Acadiana Business

Click here for story

David Dismukes is the associate director at the Center for Energy Studies at LSU and author of a controversial 2012 study claiming the state’s hostile legal climate has resulted in 30,000 lost jobs and about $6.8 billion in drilling revenue

The Dismukes study, “The Impact of Legacy Lawsuits on Conventional Oil and Gas Drilling in Louisiana,” has served as one of the main weapons in the arsenal of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association’s battle over so-called “legacy lawsuits” and more recently with the New Orleans levee board over its lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies for decades of destruction wrought on our coastline.

But neither lawyers representing landowners with claims against oil companies nor Dismukes’ academic peers are buying his study. And Dismukes himself isn’t talking.

Since the release of his revised report in 2012, Dismukes has done everything he can to avoid being questioned on the validity of his research, claims attorney John Carmouche of Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello, the firm now representing Jefferson, Plaquemines and Cameron parishes in a series of coastal zone management lawsuits filed against the industry.

A number of problems with Dismukes’ study have been raised by his academic peers, including an April 2012 response published by ECONorthwest economists and University of Oregon professors/PH.D.s Ed Whitelaw and Bryce Ward. Their response is a scathing review of Dismukes’ work, which they call a “fatally flawed” study that puts bias before scholarly methods.

According to Dr. Robert Gramling, a retired UL Lafayette professor of environmental sociology and author of a number of books on the oil and gas industry, the only flaw with the ECONorthwest review is that it doesn’t go far enough.

“Conventional drilling started very early in South Louisiana — in 1907, I think — and has continued ever since,” says Gramling. “There is a finite amount of oil in any location and much of what is in South Louisiana has been located and produced. So there is less drilling because there is less oil. Dismukes is mistaking correlation with causation. Drilling is down in South Louisiana simply because there’s less oil, not because there’s more legacy lawsuits.”

Also problematic, says Gramling, is that Dismukes’ study splits Louisiana into two regions — north and south — which he uses to compare to other states in their entirety. The activity in those other states is based on unconventional drilling, or fracking, which also has resulted in a boom in North Louisiana. That, however, is not the case for South Louisiana, where the activity has solely been focused on conventional forms of extraction.

Carmouche says since 2012, his firm has attempted to subpoena Dismukes to give a deposition on his study. After a series of unsuccessful attempts, Carmouche says his firm hired Kenneth Ricks, a private process server, who paid Dismukes a visit at his office on April 3, 2012.

“[Ricks] goes to Dismukes’ office, asks the receptionist to speak with him, she recognizes this is someone to serve him and comes back saying he’s not here anymore,” recalls Carmouche. “[Ricks] then sees Dismukes running out the back door, so he runs out, gets in his truck and pulls behind Dismukes to block him in, but Dismukes looks in his mirror, starts his car and runs his car into [Ricks].”

According to an accident report filed by the Baton Rouge Police Department, here’s how the responding officer described the incident:

[Ricks] explained he was stopped behind vehicle 1 because he was serving David DISMUKES with a subpoena. [Ricks] further informed me [Dismukes] backed out of the parking space in an aggressive manner in an attempt to avoid being served a subpoena.

“You’ve got [LOGA’s] Don Briggs and others in the industry who keep talking about this guy and his report, so all we want is for him to come testify and explain the report,” says Carmouche. “What’s the big deal, he wrote the report, he’s an expert in economics, he testifies in court all over the country on other matters, so why’s he running?”

The reason behind that reluctance is best summed up through a series of 2012 emails — released by LSU following a public records request from Carmouche’s firm — between Dismukes, his research assistant and oil and gas industry officials.

In a Feb. 5, 2012, email to his research assistant, Chris Peters, a seemingly frustrated Dismukes writes: “Here’s the F$@### legacy report !!! aghhh … If we can get this spinned back around and out tomorrow I would be so grateful –I want these people off my back so I can get back to other things.”

The identity of “these people” is revealed in a follow-up email Dismukes sends to Peters on Feb. 6, writing: “Chris how is the legacy stuff going? I need to get something out to Exxon and Chevron today.”

Responding to a question from Peters on the study’s fuzzy data, Dismukes sends an even more revealing email on Feb. 6: “I would say ‘various filings’ as the source … I got the data from Exxon so not sure how I want to ‘fess up’ on where that info came from.”

In an earlier email to Peters, sent Jan. 20, Dismukes is clear about his intention for the study: “[C]an you combine the south LA and the offshore — call it ‘South LA and Inland Waters’ — I want to be a little ambiguous.”

The study immediately drew criticism with its release on Feb. 28, and in a March 1 response email to Exxon’s Jeff Copesky, Dismukes asks for post-2007 data from the company to shut down arguments that the study is flawed because it centers on the years impacted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which had a devastating impact on South Louisiana’s drilling operations. Dismukes writes to Copesky: “If you all could get me that extra data that I sent you a request about I could clearly shut this line of argument down since I could take the model out to 2010.”

The report was never updated, so it appears Exxon did not supply that information (presumably the information would have been sent in an email that would have been turned over to Carmouche by LSU).

Dismukes appeared as a panelist Tuesday for a Grow Louisiana Coalition forum hosted by the Center for Energy Studies at LSU. The IND spoke with Dismukes before the event, but he declined comment on the legacy lawsuit study saying, “I can’t talk because of a number of legal reasons.”

Dismukes deferred comment to his attorney, John Murrill. According to Murrill, he was retained by LSU in 2012 following the attempts by Talbot Carmouche to subpoena Dismukes.

“When the university and Dr. Dismukes were subpoenaed I was retained to defend against both of those subpoenas since neither was a defendant in a lawsuit; they were simply subpoenaed to give depositions in a lawsuit against other parties,” says Murrill, who spoke by phone Wednesday with The IND. “The university is interested in protecting the academic freedom of its faculty members, but given the fact that Dr. Dismukes may be subject to future subpoenas I don’t want to comment on that any further.”

Murrill says in 2012 he filed a motion to quash the subpoenas against Dismukes and LSU, and so far neither has been deposed.

While Dismukes has so far seen no backlash from the university’s administration over the industry’s heavy-hand in his research, his case is not unique.

In 2012, UT Austin’s Energy Institute released a study claiming hydraulic fracturing had nothing to do with water contamination. Controversy quickly followed when it was discovered that the study’s author, professor Charles Groat, was also sitting on the board of Plains Exploration and Production (now Freeport McMoran Oil and Gas, which is headed by Lafayette native Jim Flores) and had taken in about $1.5 million in cash and stock compensation from the company within a five-year time frame, according to an investigation by StateImpact Texas, a reporting project of NPR member stations. That discovery prompted Groat to “retire” from the university, and the controversy also resulted in the resignation of the Energy Institute’s director, Raymond Orbach. The university responded by revising its conflict of interest policies and restructuring the Energy Institute.

UT Austin Provost Steven Leslie responded to the controversy in an interview with StateImpact Texas, saying, “These are matters that affect the credibility and the public trust relating to the university.”

A similar situation unfolded in November 2012 at the University of Buffalo over a study released by the school’s Shale Resources and Society Institute claiming natural drilling operations at the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania had become safer because of increased regulation. What the study did not disclose was the connection between its authors and the industry. Following an internal investigation launched by an industry watchdog group, which claimed the study’s authors used “flawed methodology,” “biased language and industry spin,” and an “artificial ‘peer review’ process,” the university responded by shutting down the institute, according to StateImpact Pennsylvania.

The Dismukes study and the controversial reports released by UT Austin and the University of Buffalo have many similarities: All three attempted to hide the influence of the oil and gas industry and employed biased language and flawed methodologies, and each lacked a legitimate peer review process.

But, at least for now, the one major difference between these three cases is that LSU is backing the industry’s heavy-handed role in its professor’s research.

Tags: dismukees, legacy lawsuit
Posted in News | Comments Off on Big Oil’s behind-the-scenes role in LSU’s ‘legacy lawsuit’ study