Dan Collins waged a nearly decade-long fight to reveal corruption inside the Department of Natural Resources’ bid process for oil and gas leases on public lands in Louisiana. He stumbled upon the corruption while at an oil and gas expo in Texas back in 2007. There he noticed that information was being distributed about oil and gas leasing opportunities that fell in the area of an Atchafalaya Basin water quality project on which he had done some work.
What he thought was a water flow improvement project turned out to actually be a state-funded three-mile canal dredging project that opened an area of the interior of the Basin to natural gas drilling. In examining the paper trail that linked the leases to the water project, Collins discovered that the public descriptions of the lease areas had been altered in ways that hid the true location of the lease areas from those thought the process to be transparent and above board.
After bringing his findings to public officials in the Blanco and Jindal administrations yet getting no response, Collins filed a whistleblower lawsuit. Years of delays followed. Finally, in December 2015, after a five-day trial, an East Baton Rouge Parish district court jury found in his favor; that he had been punished by the Department of Natural Resources for exposing problems in what was known as the Bayou Postillion project.
Dan and I spoke on Where the Alligators Roam for 45 minutes, then recorded an additional segment that can be found exclusively on this podcast in which he talks about the trial itself and the issues it raised.
The bonus coverage can be found after the spot from our longtime Alligator Podcast friend Maxine’s. You can’t miss it.