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2004 Regular Session Highlights

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Coastal Restoration

by: Jerry Jones
(225) 342-1769

2004 First Extraordinary Session

Senate Resolution 4 by Senator Hines (enrolled) creates the Senate Select Committee on Coastal Restoration and Flood Control, consisting of 7 members appointed by the president of the Senate. The select committee is to study all issues related to coastal restoration and flooding in coastal parishes, including matters relating to tidelands, construction, public works, improvements and maintenance of waterways, lakes, and streams in coastal parishes, and flood and drainage projects and levee districts in coastal parishes. Provides that the select committee shall meet as necessary and make written reports of its findings prior to each regular session, together with any specific proposals for legislation.

2004 Regular Session

Senate Bill 308 by Senator Dupre (Act 459) provides certain procedures and requirements relating to coastal management program guidelines, coastal use permitting, and mitigation of wetlands losses. Authorizes periodic review of guidelines. Provides that an application for a coastal use permit may be denied without prejudice, or withdrawn or placed on inactive status, if the applicant fails to respond within 60 days to a request from the permitting authority. Provides that the owner of the land on which a permitted activity is to occur shall have the option of requiring on-site or off-site compensatory mitigation on his property located in any jurisdictional area of the coastal zone or any area included in the Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation Plan.

Senate Bill 310 by Senator Dupre (Act 633) authorizes the Department of Natural Resources to expropriate, by a declaration of taking, property in the coastal zone needed for barrier island preservation, restoration, or creation for coastal wetlands purposes. Defines "property" to mean a servitude, easement or right-of-way necessary to establish, maintain or operate a project for barrier island preservation, restoration, or creation for coastal wetlands purposes. Excludes from such expropriation ownership of the surface, subsurface and mineral rights. Provides that certain mineral rights are vested in the owner of the property relative to the existing coast or shore line of the property and emergent lands lying within the project area. Also provides that in the event subsequent erosion should cause any emergent lands to become part of the seabed, ownership of all mineral rights and mineral production therefrom shall be vested in the state. Provides that ownership of certain subsurface mineral rights by the owner of the property shall be deemed just and adequate compensation for the taking of the property, and no further compensation or damages shall be owed by the state. Provides procedures for expropriation process.

House Bill 429 by Representative Dove (Act 407) provides for a barrier island and shorelines stabilization and preservation program to be established within the Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Program. As part of the program, provides that Dept. of Natural Resources shall require that all projects subject to public bid include appropriate dredges for use to stabilize and preserve barrier islands and shorelines. By Sept. 1st of each year, the governing authority of each parish with barrier islands and shorelines shall submit to the secretary a list of barrier islands and shorelines stabilization and preservation projects requested for that parish. The department shall review the projects and by Dec. 1 issue a list which prioritizes those requests. Provides for priority list to be promulgated, and to be subject to legislative oversight prior to Feb. 1 of each year. Provides that funding for projects shall be available from the Barrier Islands and Shorelines Stabilization and Fund and, in the event funding from such fund is not appropriated in a given year, that the program shall be suspended until funds are appropriated for the program.

NOTE: Section 2 of bill states that its provisions shall take effect and become operative if and when House Bill No. 1034 is enacted and becomes effective.

House Bill 620 by Representative Pierre (Act 217) provides that notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any person who has entered into an oyster lease with the state and who is claiming compensation pursuant to R.S. 49:213.10 (relative to compensation to be paid by the state or a political subdivision for property taken for public purposes related to coastal wetlands conservation, management, preservation, enhancement, creation, or restoration), arising out of or in any way related to the oyster lease granted by the state shall file such action only in the 19th Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge.

House Bill 788 by Representative Pierre (Act 386) provides that the secretary of the Dept. of Natural Resources shall take into consideration a permit applicant's history of compliance with the provisions of the Louisiana Coastal Resources Program prior to making a determination of whether to approve or deny the application for a coastal use permit. Provides for exceptions and for promulgation under the Administrative Procedure Act of guidelines for implementation. Further provides that the applicant shall be allowed to review and comment on his compliance record as compiled by the secretary.

House Bill 1034 by Representative Dove (Act 786) creates the Barrier Island Stabilization and Preservation Fund as a special fund in the state treasury. Funds are to be used exclusively by Dept. of Natural Resources to support barrier island stabilization and preservation program with the Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Program.

House Bill 1266 by Representative Damico (Act 277) provides procedures for notification to multiple landowners of proposed activities under a coastal use permit. Also provides relative to the Coastal Mitigation Account that (a) monies may be used for projects in which permittees may pool funds sufficient for compensatory mitigation required of each participating permittee, and removing requirement that there must not be an appropriate individual project or mitigation area available in the coastal zone; (b) authorizing secretary of Dept. of Natural Resources, when appropriate, to use monies in the account to fund, in whole or in part, wetland restoration projects developed or implemented by the department of a parish with an approved local coastal program; and (c) providing that payment to the account in lieu of compensatory mitigation is accepted only when a permittee is unable to provide mitigation through an appropriate individual project or through an appropriate mitigation bank or area located within the coastal zone or Coastal Wetlands Conservation Plan area. Provides for promulgation of regulations and that secretary shall ensure that any fees collected in lieu of compensatory mitigation are adequate to fully offset the cost of restoring the habitat value lost.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 75 by Senator N. Gautreaux (enrolled) memorializes Congress to authorize and fund the establishment of the Coastal Forest Reserve Program, and requests federal and state forest services and state schools to provide an inventory of coastal forests.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 159 by Senator Dupre (enrolled) memorializes Congress to review federal laws, rules and procedures affecting coastal wetlands activities and permitting in Louisiana.

House Concurrent Resolution 68 by Representative Odinet (enrolled) urges the prompt closure of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.

House Concurrent Resolution 80 by Representative Pierre (enrolled) approves the Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Plan for Fiscal Year 2004-2005.

House Concurrent Resolution 180 by Representative Dove (enrolled) urges Dept. of Natural Resources, Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries, and Dept. of Environmental Quality to streamline permitting process for drilling permits and coastal use permits.

House Concurrent Resolution 265 by Representative Pitre (enrolled) requests the State Land Office to prioritize its surveying efforts so as to complete the coastal parishes first.

House Concurrent Resolution 291 by Representative Baldone (enrolled) urges secretary of Dept. of Natural Resources to update base mitigation costs used to calculate monetary contributions to the Coastal Mitigation Account of the Louisiana Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Fund.

Senate Bill 170 by Senator Dupre (Senate Natural Resources) would have provided relative to mitigation activities and the Coastal Mitigation Account.

Senate Bill 172 by Senator Dupre (Senate Natural Resources) would have provided relative to mitigation and coastal wetland losses and the Coastal Mitigation Account, and would have authorized certain self-mitigation by a public body.

House Bill 378 by Representative Baldone (House Natural Resources) would have required wetlands compensatory mitigation to be in the form of payments to the Coastal Mitigation Account.

House Bill 855 by Representative Pierre (House Natural Resources) would have provided relative to administrative fines or penalties when unauthorized activities caused damage in the coastal zone.

Questions and comments may be directed to websen@legis.la.gov
Baton Rouge, Louisiana.