In three weeks, a coast attorney will walk into the Gulfport federal courthouse and argue that since his research indicates oil companies contributed to global warming, they contributed to Katrina's devastation.
The class action lawsuit was filed by Gerald Maples. In the past, Maples successfully took on asbestos producers. Now, the coast attorney is suing 26 oil companies for what he contends was their role in fueling Hurricane Katrina's wicked punch.
"We on the Mississippi coast here have paid the ultimate price for this kind of neglect," said Maples while standing outside the home he lost during the storm.
Maples says he has scientific proof that's been ignored by Congress. The attorney will argue in court that oil companies and their impact on global warming are partly to blame for the excessive pounding south Mississippi absorbed during Katrina.
"Sometimes your government just lets you down. And you've got to get people together. And that's the only way their voice can be heard, and that's what we hope to do here," he said.
Maples must convince Federal Judge Louis Guirola that his court is the right place to prove the earth is warmer, and hurricanes like Katrina are more powerful and do more destruction because of the gas that goes into automobiles that roll across the country.
"They have all the resources that's necessary to provide us with good, clean options, and they're just simply not doing it," he said.
It should be pointed out that Maples showed up for his interview in a Mazda Miata, powered by some of the gas produced by the oil companies he's suing. So he was asked, if his theory was true, wasn't he also contributing to global warming, and therefore also to blame for Katrina's devastation. Not really, he said.
"I have to drive in connection with my work. But what I'd like to come out of this lawsuit, one thing I'd like to see come out of this lawsuit would be more good choices for us," said Maples.
The global warming argument will be heard on August 30th.
A representative with the National Association of Manufacturers told a national business magazine federal court was the wrong place for a case like this to be heard. That group contends the global warming debate belongs on Capitol Hill, not in a Gulfport courtroom.
By Brad Kessie
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