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By KEVIN McGILL, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Oil companies facing lawsuits blaming them for coastal wetland loss in Louisiana lost an attempt Monday to move the suits to federal court.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a decision keeping the suits in state court, where the six coastal parishes want them tried.

The lawsuits, some of them dating to 2013, charge that oil and gas firms failed to follow state law in drilling wells, building canals, disposing of wastes and other activities that contributed to coastal wetlands loss. Industry representatives cast the suits as an unjust attack — led by trial lawyers — on a vital industry and employer.

Monday's 5th Circuit decision dealt with cases filed by two parishes, Cameron and Plaquemines, but attorney John Carmouche, a lead attorney for the parishes, said it effectively applies to four others, which include Jefferson, Vermilion, St. Bernard and St. John the Baptist.

The ruling by Judge James Ho on behalf of a three-judge 5th Circuit panel said the energy company defendants, which include Chevron, Exxon-Mobil ConoccoPhillips and others, had tried and failed in earlier attempts to have the state cases moved to federal courts. The latest attempt came after one of the parishes filed a report in one of the cases that the oil companies said included new information that warranted moving the cases to federal jurisdiction: that some of the wells involved in the lawsuits were drilled during World War II while the companies were acting under the authority of a federal wartime agency.

“We conclude that the information disclosed in the expert report did not provide new information previously unavailable to the companies,” Ho's opinion said.

John Carmouche, a lead lawyer for the parishes, said the oil companies' attempts to move the cases to federal court were a delaying tactic. He said he is hopeful now that a trial date can be set.

Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, an industry group that has strongly opposed the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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Haunting texts reveal Chris Watts’ pregnant wife Shannan was planning a meal hours before he slaughtered whole family

CHILLING texts reveal Chris Watts’ pregnant wife Shannan was planning a family meal hours before he murdered her and their kids.

The texts were featured in a new documentary about the tragic killings titled: “American Murder: The Family Next Door” that premiered on Netflix yesterday.

7Chris Watts pleaded guilty to the murder of his wife and two young daughtersCredit: Enterprise News and Pictures 7Hours before she was murdered Shannan was preparing a meal for the family the following day 7The Netflix documentary shows the last messages between the married couple

In the footage, Shannan asks Chris via text message what vegetables he wanted with dinner the following day.

Using an emoji in his reply, Chris said: “Broccoli works. Green beans work too.”

Planning her shopping list, Shannan replied by saying she would buy those ingredients as well as salad and spinach at Costco the next day.

Making sure she didn’t forget anything, the mom-of-two asked if there was anything else Chris wanted to add to the grocery list. 

At this point, Shannan’s plane had been delayed several hours and Chris asked if her plane had taken off. 

Shannan replied that she was boarded and they were preparing for takeoff.

“Prayers for safe flight! Love you,” Shanann replied, adding a kiss emoji.

7A picture of the family together on what would be their last ChristmasCredit: Refer to Caption 7Chris confessed to strangling his wife and murdering his two daughtersCredit: Refer to Caption

It is unclear from the clip if Chris replied to that last message.

Hours later, on a morning of August 2018, Chris had strangled his wife to death in their marital bed.

Chris then drove his 3 and 4-year-old daughters along with the body of his dead wife to an oil field an hour away from their family home. 

There, he smothered his two daughters before dropping their bodies into separate oil tanks. 

On November 6, 2018, Mr Watts sobbed in court as he pleaded guilty to five counts of murder in the first degree, three counts of tampering with a deceased human body, and one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy.

The request not to seek the death penalty came from Shannan's family.

Watts had previously denied the charges and even made a tearful TV appeal for his family's safe return after they were reported missing in Frederick, Colorado.

Watts sent his mistress Nichol Kessinger a chilling text message that his family had "gone" at around 3.45pm on the day his wife and kids were reported missing.

Ms Kessinger recalls receiving the emotionless and cold message, which followed a dozen normal messages they had shared throughout the working day.

Reading the news, she became even more confused when she realised journalists were outside his house, and she was horrified to learn he was still married to a woman who was 15 weeks pregnant.

Ms Kessinger had starting dating Watts in early July, believing he was separated and at the end of divorce proceedings.

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Shannan's body was found buried in a shallow grave and the girls had been dumped in oil tanks on the property of Watts' former employer - the Anadarko oil and gas site.

He was employed at the site which is located near the family home in Frederick, on the outskirts of the Mile High City.

Chris was handed five life sentences for the murders without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to the murders.

7Chris on national television pleading for this wife to return homeCredit: NBC 7A message from Chris to Shannan after she finished with her baby scanCredit: Refer to Caption

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