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AFX News Limited: ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell among companies sued over Katrina devastation: Friday 23 Sept 2005

NEW ORLEANS (AFX) - A lawsuit filed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina blames oil companies for destroying coastal marshes that could have protected New Orleans from the massive tidal surge, lawyers said Friday.

The class-action suit filed in federal court seeks to represent all Hurricane Katrina victims in Louisiana.

Named as defendants are Exxon Mobil Corp, Chevron, Shell Oil, BP PLC, and several exploration and pipeline companies.

It alleges 'that the major oil companies' oil, gas and pipeline exploration and drilling activities throughout southeast Louisiana resulted in ecological damages to such an extent that coastal marshes were destroyed which previously had protected New Orleans naturally from Katrina level hurricane force winds and tidal surges,' the lawyers said in a statement.

'Everyone has been talking about the failures of the state, local and federal governments in the wake of Hurricane Katrina,' said Val Exnicios, one of the lawyers in the case.

'We believe it's the right time to pinpoint who's essentially responsible for the devastation caused by Katrina in the first place -- the major oil and gas companies, who haphazardly dredged thousands of miles of exploration and drill site canals throughout south Louisiana to extract oil and gas.'


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