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Coastal Desk

Environmentalists Trek 100 Miles To Governor's Mansion To Protest Block Of Levee Board Lawsuit

Laine Kaplan-Levenson

A group of environmentalists are walking 100 miles from Grand Isle to Baton Rouge, along Louisiana Highway 1. They’re protesting Governor Jindal’s signing of Senate Bill 469, which blocked a New Orleans levee board lawsuit against oil and gas companies.

The members hail from around Louisiana. They want Gulf residents to be more aware of decisions made in Baton Rouge that impact their coastal communities.

Group leader Mike Stagg says Governor Jindal made a mistake when he challenged the levee board lawsuit. The suit seeks to make 97 oil and gas companies pay for past damages to the coast.

Credit Laine Kaplan-Levenson / WWNO
The walkers, as of June 26 (from left): Mike Stagg, Elizabeth Robeson, Jenna DeBoisblanc, Kirk Green and Sylvia Martinez.

"He had been warned by these legal scholars about the implications of this bill and he signed it anyway," says Stagg. "This is reckless and we want to put the accountability where it belongs. It’s on him."

Stagg and others want to know how the governor will fund the $50 billion Master Plan to restore coastal Louisiana. He believes the levee board lawsuit could help cover that cost.

"If we don’t have any money we don’t have any coastal restoration," he says.

Thursday's portion of the journey ends in Donaldsonville. Stagg and company will walk the final 40 miles to the governor’s mansion by Saturday morning.

Support for coastal reporting on WWNO comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Kabacoff Family Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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