The Pelican Institute’s report shows that despite claims that the proposed Freeport-McMoRan settlement would help the coast, there will be questionable impact on coastal restoration.

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NEW ORLEANS– Lawsuits targeting oil and gas companies with the promise of bringing dollars for coastal restoration have had a chilling effect that has sent investment and jobs away from Louisiana. A new report from the Pelican Institute for Public Policy shows that the proposed Freeport-McMoRan settlement would have questionable impact on coastal restoration, with many of the settlement dollars likely to be spent on non-restoration projects.

The proposed settlement would create a complicated environmental credit scheme that promises $100 million for coastal restoration, but is likely to deliver less than 15% of those dollars. It would also establish an unelected bureaucracy to oversee the disbursement of these funds. While $100 million is a large sum of money, the Pelican Institute report shows that forty percent of the money can be spent on projects not related to coastal restoration.

“Between natural disasters and jobs leaving the state, our coastal communities have been hit hard. Now, trial attorneys are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Louisianans by making big claims for coast restoration while only a fraction of the dollars will actually surface and be spent on the coast. Our coastline needs to be protected, and the proposed settlement will do nothing to help our coast,” said Daniel Erspamer, CEO of the Pelican Institute. 

Environmental credit schemes have been attempted in states like California where $600 million in credit sales was promised, but only $8.2 million was delivered. Similarly, nine northeastern and mid-Atlantic states attempted a credit scheme to reduce carbon emissions but states that did not participate in the scheme saw the same reduction in carbon emissions as participating states proving that the credit scheme did nothing to mitigate environmental concerns.

“Crediting schemes like the one in the proposed settlement have a long track record of corruption and failing to deliver any real results. Proponents and opponents of the coastal lawsuits alike should be wary of the proposed settlement because it will do little if anything to spur any coastal restoration,” said John Kay, Senior Vice President of the Pelican Institute.

As part of the settlement, legislators will be asked to approve the creation of the coastal credit scheme. The Pelican Institute urges legislators to look past the imaginary dollar figure of $100 million and investigate what the real impact will be for the coast.

To read the full report you can click here