Your good friend lives next door. He has a tree trimming service and is very rich. He’s helped you financially for a very long time, and with his help, you’re not wealthy, but you do okay financially.
This rich, good friend, who happens to be your neighbor, decides to trim a giant oak that towers over your house and his. You agree to the tree trimming, if he guarantees to pay for any cleanup because you don’t have cleanup money. He agrees to your terms and even gets a permit from you to assure you that a cleanup will be taken care of.
In the process of trimming the mighty oak, part of the tree falls on your house. The costs of repairing your home are extreme. You can’t afford to pay all of it, so you ask your friend to pay a portion of the repairs. Although you hate to make that request, you reason that he is rich and can afford the costs, and the bottom line? You can’t remain in your home without his financial help. You need him to pay for a piece of the damage he caused.
Time goes by… a fairly long period of time… and your rich-good friend-neighbor doesn’t volunteer to clean up, so you tell him you have no choice but to take the issue to court, if he won’t help.
Is that fair on your part?
On the flip side, would it be fair on his part if he uses his extensive wealth and political clout to convince politicians, who he helped elect, to take action that would retroactively remove any law requiring compensation for situations like yours?
Have the oil companies not been our good friends? Did we not agree to work together so we could all benefit? Do we not see the unintended damage that could force us out of our homes and ruin our future but is partially responsible for doing just that?
I can find no one who believes future generations can live here if we don’t find money to repair our wetlands, and we do not have enough money. So, if we can’t afford the repairs do we abandon our businesses, our homes, our culture, our future? Do we leave South Louisiana?
Who pays for the house with the oak tree on top?
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