Published: Thursday, August 24, 2017 New Orleans Times-Picayune, Aug. 23).
(Mark Schleifstein) LINK

A federal judge ruled this week that natural gas pipeline companies are on the hook for erosion on 20,000 acres of Louisiana wetlands.

The companies must either repair some of the erosion that has happened since 1953 along pipeline canals or offer the landowner compensation.

The ruling could set a precedent for how erosion caused by other pipeline canals will be handled, if it is upheld on appeal.

The wetlands are owned by New Orleans-based Vintage Assets Inc. in the Breton Sound Basin. The ruling did not say whether any money awarded to Vintage Assets would have to be spent on wetland restoration, though the trust that controls Vintage Assets has said it plans to use any money received for that purpose.

A trial starts next month to determine how much damage the canals caused and how losses will be compensated.

The canals were built by Southern Natural Gas Co. LLC and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC, both Kinder Morgan Inc. subsidiaries, and High Point Gas Transmission LLC and High Point Gas Gathering LLC , — CS