U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown ruled on Friday, June 27, 2014, that the case filed by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East against 97 oil and gas companies for alleged erosion and damages to Louisiana’s coastal lands will remain in federal court. The case was originally filed in the Civil District Court, Orleans Parish, in July of 2013. Chevron U.S.A., one of the defendants in the case, had removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Judge Brown found that the Levee Authority’s claims which demand repair of wetlands “necessarily raise a federal issue, actually disputed and substantial, which a federal forum may entertain without disturbing the congressional approved balance of federal and state judicial responsibilities.” The issues in the case, the court found, are governed by federal laws, including the River and Harbors Act of 1899, the Clean Water Act, and the Coastal Zone Management Act. Judge Brown’s ruling does not address the issue of whether the Levee Authority has the right to continue on with the lawsuit in light of the Louisiana Legislature’s passage last month of Senate Bill 469.
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