Taxpayers may be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars if the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East has to withdraw its lawsuit against oil and gas companies.
SLFPA-E met opposition from the legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee Wednesday, as the committee gathered information from the authority on the suit, also hearing opposing testimony from Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority head Garret Graves.
As Hurricane Isaac was bearing down on Louisiana last August, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness bought 773 truckloads of bagged ice from Pelican Ice in Kenner for $17.4 million.
Only $2.4 million worth actually got distributed by the Louisiana National Guard to the public.
Some was given away for free to restaurants and other private businesses. One retailer even repackaged and sold some.
Nearly half of the ice was allowed to melt in an un-refrigerated warehouse in Lacombe.
Last week, the state Inspector General issued a scathing report about the blunder.
GOHSEP spokesman Mike Steele and the Guard’s public affairs officer Lt. Col. Michael Kazmierzak say they have revised supplier contracts and improved tracking to prevent so much ice from going to waste again.