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La. flood board to sue oil companies over loss of coastal land crucial to hurricane protection

Flood protection officials in the New Orleans area are filing a lawsuit seeking to hold the oil and gas industry responsible for the erosion of hundreds of acres of coastal land that serve as a natural buffer against flooding from hurricanes.

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East's board of commissioners plans to file the lawsuit against dozens of companies Wednesday in Orleans Parish Civil District Court. The board says corrosive saltwater from a network of oil and gas access and pipeline canals has killed vegetation and swept away mountains of soil.

The wetlands are considered a crucial buffer against hurricanes because they can help keep floodwaters from storm surge at bay.

The board says it will have to bear many of the costs associated with the need for increased flood protection. Its suit seeks unspecified damages.