Poll Shows that Louisiana Residents Want Oil Companies to Pay for Damage Done to the Coast

Maority of Citzens Say Legislature Should Keep Out of Law Suit Against Big Oil

For More Information:
Karen Carvin

For Immediate Release
November 22, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA—An overwhelming majority of residents (93 percent) in coastal Louisiana say that oil, gas and pipeline companies, not taxpayers should pay to fix the damage to the coastal wetlands the oil companies are responsible for, according to a scientific public opinion poll conducted by Dr. Silas Lee & Associates for Restore Louisiana Now Inc.

Further, 96 percent agree that the loss of coastal wetlands is an issue that needs to be addressed and 72 percent say that oil and gas industry activity contributed to the loss of wetlands leading to flooding. Over three-fourths of respondents (77 percent) believe that the oil and gas industry impacted marine, animal and plant life in our region.

Seventy four percent of the respondents do not want the Louisiana Legislature to intervene and stop the lawsuit and prefer the courts to decide if the oil, gas and pipeline companies damaged the coast and how much damage to coastal Louisiana they are responsible for. In metro New Orleans, that number is even higher with 86 percent favoring that the courts decide. That may be attributable to the fact that only 33 percent of those polled across coastal Louisiana and only 22 percent in metro New Orleans have confidence that the oil and gas companies will voluntarily restore the

wetlands they drilled in. The respondents also indicated a lack of trust in the administration to manage rebuilding the wetlands. Only 15 percent trust the administration in the rebuilding process compared to 68% whom trust an independent non-political board composed of scientists and engineers.

In July, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (SLFPA-E) filed a lawsuit against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies to hold these firms responsible for the damage they have done to coastal wetlands, south Louisiana’s first line of defense against storm surge flooding. The Flood Protection Authority alleged that because of the coastal erosion caused by the activities of oil, gas and pipeline companies, the SLFPA-E’s cost of maintaining and building levees and floodwalls had increased substantially.

In the scientific poll of a demographically representative sample commissioned by Restore Louisiana Now, Dr. Lee surveyed 1000 residents of 20 south Louisiana parishes, including metro New Orleans and East Baton Rouge Parish by land line and mobile phones October 23 through November 5. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus three percent.

Restore Louisiana Now Inc. is a recently established independent advocacy organization that partners with community, business and government groups to protect and preserve our land, water, livelihoods and culture for future generations. Restore Louisiana now was founded by historian and former SLFPA-E commissioner John Barry; it’s board of directors includes Sandy Rosenthal, founder of Levees.org, award winning filmmaker Walter Williams, Judge Calvin Johnson (retired) and Al Sunseri, past president of the Louisiana Oyster Dealers and Growers Association and a member of Governor's Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection, Restoration, and Conservation.

Click here to download the full survey results (PDF)