Attorney General Buddy Caldwell acted within his authority when he approved the hiring of outside legal help in a lawsuit filed by the Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East against almost 100 oil and gas companies for alleged damage to coastal wetlands.

State District Judge Janice Clark issued the ruling on Monday in Baton Rouge, The Advocate reports.

A lawsuit filed in December 2013 by the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association alleged the levee authority is a state agency that operates under the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

The lawsuit argued the levee board did not have the authority to hire outside counsel and instead should be represented by the attorney general.

The oil and gas association says it will appeal Clark's ruling.