2004 Regular Session Highlights
by: J.W. Wiley
Senate Bill 2 by Senator McPherson (Act 927)
is a proposed constitutional amendment to preserve the freedom to hunt, fish,
and trap subject to regulation, restriction, or prohibition imposed pursuant to
law. The amendment provides that such freedoms are a valued natural heritage,
forever preserved for the people of Louisiana.
OILFIELD SITE RESTORATION
House Bill 651 by Representative Pierre (Act 412)
increases the oilfield site restoration fee to one and one-half cents per barrel
on oil and condensate produced from wells in this state, and to three-tenths of
one cent per thousand cubic feet on gas produced from wells in this state. These
fees would go to the Oilfield Site Restoration Fund. It also would repeal the
section that provides for an increase in the fees as production declines.
House Bill 652 by Representative Pierre (Act
768) increases the allowable amount the Department of Natural Resources may
use in the administration of the restoration program to $750,000 per fiscal
House Bill 669 by Representative Pierre (Act 225)
allows all orphaned oilfield sites, not just oilfield sites transferred prior to
May 1, 1993, without a site-specific trust fund to be restored with funds from
the Oilfield Site Restoration Fund. All sites with site-specific trust funds
will be restored using money from the trust fund first, then funds from the
responsible part, and then funds from the Oilfield Site Restoration Fund. It
retains the exemption for those parties who made full contribution to the fund,
created a site-specific trust account, made full disclosure, are not entities
which are operators or working interest owners in an orphaned site, and complied
with all required reviews.
PIPELINES AND UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANKS
House Bill 654 by Representative Pierre (Act 222)
requires the commissioner of conservation to annually review the fee assessed
against a person engaged in the transportation of hazardous liquids or who owns
or operates intrastate pipeline facilities for the transportation of hazardous
liquids. It allows the commissioner to revise the fee so long as the fee does
not exceed twenty-two dollars and forty cents per mile.
House Bill 668 by Representative Montgomery
(Act 104) defines "reservoir" as any natural or manmade spaces
capable of containing or holding natural gas or liquefied hydrocarbons,
including caverns created in salt domes.
House Bill 655 by Representative Pierre (Act
223) sets the annual safety and odorization inspection fee of the greater of
twenty-two dollars and forty cents per mile of pipeline used in a jurisdictional
gas distribution system, or four hundred dollars per pipeline facility.
House Bill 656 by Representative Pierre (Act
224) includes post-secondary education institutions in the definition of a
"master meter system" for purposes of the regulation of natural gas
distribution. It also adds the definition of "school system", and
"special class system" for natural gas distribution regulations.
Senate Bills 206 and
853 by Senator B.
Gautreaux (withdrawn from Senate files) would have allowed commercial
fishing for red drum. It set requirements for fishermen who could commercially
fish for red drum, and provided for annual stock assessments conducted by the
office of fisheries of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
In order to control the overgrowth of invasive
aquatic grasses and weeds in Saline Lake and Iatt Lake, Senate Bill 45 by
Senator Smith (Act 173), allows the Saline Lake Game and Fish Preserve
Commission and the Grant Parish Police Jury to place triploid grass carp into
the lakes. In addition, Senate Concurrent Resolutions 30,
Senator Smith (enrolled), requests the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
to draw down the lakes, to apply herbicides to the lakes during the draw down,
and to supervise the introduction of triploid grass carp into the lakes.
House Bill 1162 by Representative Dove (Act
792) limits the liability caused by certain activities performed by oil
companies to oyster leases to the diminution in market value of the oyster
leases. The diminution in market value will be calculated by methods used by
Louisiana Oyster Lease Damage Evaluation Board.
Senate Bill 118 by Senator McPherson (Act 613)
establishes the White Lake Property Fund within the Louisiana Wildlife and
Fisheries Conservation Fund, and create the White Lake Property Advisory Board.
Money for the fund will be derived from agricultural leases and mineral revenues
on White Lake properties, user fees on the properties, money from sale of
assets, and public and private donations. The advisory board would consist of
members from various environmental groups, and certain universities, which would
be appointed by the governor, subject to Senate confirmation.
Senate Bill 695 by Senator Malone (Act 919)
would provide that mineral rights reserved from acquisitions of land by
governments, agencies, entities with expropriation authority, and certain
organizations certified by the Department of Natural Resources would be
imprescriptible under certain conditions. It would provide for a right of first
refusal in certain transfers of property, and provides for certain exemptions to
House Bill 608 by Representative Jack Smith (Act
836) would repeal the prohibition of the
exploitation of natural resources by certain employees of the Wildlife and
Fisheries Commission, or the forestry commission.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 22 by Senator
Malone (enrolled) requests the commissioner of conservation to seek
agreements with bordering states for the timely notification prior to certain
oil and gas activity near the state’s boundary.