Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Recently I posted about an attack by the Maryland legislature on the environmental clinic at University of Maryland. Now the environmental clinic at Tulane is under similar fire. Here's a quote from a recent Times-Picayune article (shared with the environmental clinicians by Tulane Environmental Law Clinic Director Adam Babich) :
As I recently e-mailed Adam, I guess it's good when your opponents are really clear that they want to take you out. It does seem that this bill doesn't have much political traction, particularly in light of the Gulf Oil Spill:
Sens. John Alario, D-Westwego, A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, and Nick Gautreaux, D-Abbeville, noted that their districts include fishers and others who have been affected by industry in the past or could have claims in the wake of the oil spill, though many of those clients likely could hire private-sector attorneys on contingency. Alario and Gautreaux said they oppose the bill. Gautreaux said, "Maybe the attorney general should hire Tulane law students to sue BP. If they can scare the chemical association this bad, then they can scare BP, TransOcean and Halliburton."
Crowe said he "has a real dilemma" and is generally reticent about a proposal that could potentially limit his constituents' access to adequate counsel.
Commerce Committee Chairwoman Ann Duplessis, D-New Orleans, cited "the poor people in my district" who have, with the help of the Tulane clinic, beaten back attempts to locate landfills in eastern New Orleans.
The closest to a "yes" vote the LCA has gotten so far is from Sen. Mike Michot, R-Lafayette, who said he's going to listen to both sides. Michot said he's heard from constituents who were represented by Tulane students. But, he said, "There has to be a balance. ... I'm going to listen to both sides."
Jamie Baker Roskie
UPDATE: The legislature effectively killed the bill through total lack of support. Read the story here.