According to the coalition, at least 36 percent, and possibly as much as 90 percent of Louisiana’s massive wetland loss has been caused by the exploits of the oil and gas industry. The group contends that the energy industry themselves have admitted that non-remediated navigation channels and pipeline canals have radically destroyed the natural coastline.
About a month ago, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East filed a massive suit against the oil and gas companies that seeks to recoup payments for 10,000 miles of canal dredging, pipeline and other construction that's harmed coastal wetlands to make way for industry infrastructure.
The Authority has run into firece opposition from the Jindal administration. Less than a day after the suit was fired, the governor issued a statement demanding that the levee authority rescind the suit. He also said the legal proceeding had been "hijacked" by trial lawyers who were looking to make money off the suit.
But for the environmental groups in favor of the lawsuit, it's Jindal's campaigns that have been enriched by the oil industry.
The confederation consisting of the League of Women Voters, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, the Sierra Club, the Gulf Coast Restoration Network, Global Green USA, VAYLA New Orleans and the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University spent some time picking apart Jindal's financing.
The group pointed out 231 contributions averaging $4000 from throughout the entire oil and gas industry.
Rolfes singled out the Helis Oil and Gas Company, a named defendant in the levee board lawsuit, as Jindal's largest contributor ($25,000.) Also named in the lawsuit is the Estate of William G. Helis, who has contributed an additional $5,000. In total, Jindal has received contributions from 12 of the named defendants in the levee board lawsuit, totaling $82,703.99 of the $1,019,777.08 that Jindal has received in all from the oil and gas industry.
The data is sourced to the State Board of Ethics website. The activists were keen to point out that the data on the site does not include private campaign contributions from individuals or federal campaign contributions Jindal may have received during his bout in the Beltway.
Rolfes argued that the federal government refuses to pay for coastal restoration because it is the fault of oil and gas and the State of Louisiana that has allowed it to happen.
Jindal's office called the press conference "just another tactic" to draw attention to the suit.