Canal Energy President Dismisses Lawsuit, Offers Warning About Business in Bogalusa

Marcelle Hanemann, Daily News (Washington Parish, Louisiana), January 2, 2011

A clearly angry Steve Fetter, president of Canal Energy and Services, which was hit with a lawsuit for alleged racial discrimination in hiring just before Christmas, denied any wrongdoing and said he’s pulling his company out of Bogalusa because of people like the plaintiffs in the federal suit. He also warned that his business would not be the only one lost to the city.

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In the suit 15 African-American plaintiffs claim that they applied for jobs advertised by Canal Energy, and that the company screened applicants to determine race and sometimes marked the applications of African-Americans with the letter “B” “for black.”

The suit also alleges that Canal had a “policy and practice” of refusing to hire African Americans, and that Fetter advised his executive assistant that he did not want to hire them.

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“These people were positively not qualified for any position in the oilfield,” he [Fetter] said. “And the BP (British Petroleum) incident showed the consequences of having inexperienced people offshore.”

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“Just as Chrysler left Bogalusa, Canal Energy is going to leave Bogalusa and there will never, ever be a successful oilfield operation in the city as long as the people in the city have their hands out and want something for nothing,” he said.

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