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Session Information

2004 Regular Session Highlights

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Natural Resources

by: J.W. Wiley
(225) 342-2108

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

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 year.

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.

NATURAL GAS

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.

FISHING

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, 90, 91, and 92 by 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.

GENERAL

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 the law.

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.



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