NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana flood control official is likening the oil and gas industry in coastal Louisiana to rock stars who bring a lot of money to the area but, in his words, “trashed the hotel room.”

Stephen Estopinal

Stephen Estopinal (eh STOW’ pih nahl) was speaking Wednesday in defense of an unprecedented lawsuit filed against nearly 100 oil, gas and pipeline companies by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East.

John Barry

Estopinal is a member of the authority. He and and John Barry, vice president of the flood control board, are addressing a legislative transportation committee meeting in Baton Rouge.

The authority’s suit says oil and gas activity is a major cause of the erosion of coastal land that serves as a natural buffer against flooding from hurricanes.

The industry is highly critical of the suit. Gov. Bobby Jindal has said the authority should withdraw it.

[Editor's Note: Follow The Lens’ Bob Marshall’s live blog on the hearing here.]

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