With the legacy lawsuit bill now signed into law, and the bill to kill the Orleans-area flood protection authority's suit against 97 energy companies pending a signature, the oil and gas industry achieved its goals for the session.
The exception was legislation targeting the claims filed by Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes against energy firms, which the industry backed off from after meeting strong resistance from legislators.
Yet the companies dispelled any notion that they are ready to negotiate with the two parishes to settle their 28 suits filed against 259 energy firms.
"It's wishful thinking and a waste of time," said Mike Moncla of Moncla Marine in Lafayette.
Following a recent news conference organized by the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Moncla told LaPolitics that one of the unique challenges of reaching a settlement involves the mix of independent energy companies with the majors.
He said while a large outfit — like Shell, which Moncla did not specifically provide as an example — might have the means to settle, the much smaller independents have limited resources.
"We were dragged into this using template lawsuits because we happen to do work in the areas targeted," he said. "No one is going to the table."
The independents involved feel they've done nothing wrong and are being lumped in with so-called "big oil," added Dennis Baillargeon, whose Lafayette-based Destin Operating Company was pulled into the Jefferson suit after it drilled unsuccessfully on open water in the parish and soon after plugged the well.
"We played by the rules. We were never cited for any wrongdoing," he said.
Whether individual settlements could be reached, on a business-by-business basis, LOGA president Don Briggs said it's unlikely for now.
"I just cannot imagine that. I can't," said Briggs.
The news conference comes roughly four weeks after Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said on The Jim Engster Show, ”The oil and gas companies are actually listening to me now, and they want to get all this stuff off of their books. And I believe after this legislative session we're going to see some big time movement on that.”