One of the most acrimonious issues facing Louisiana lawmakers this session has wrapped up.
I love this quote from the Times-Picayune. The “most acrimonious” issue facing our government? (acrimonious=bitter or anger) The T-P barely covered the issue for it being so insightful of anger among legislators this session! What a make-up sex comment.The House gave final, unanimous passage Thursday to compromise legislation involving a dispute between the oil and gas industry and landowners over how to clean up environmental damage done in drilling years ago.
The pair of bills will change the complex legal process for dealing with so-called “legacy lawsuits” that seek millions of dollars in damage claims and that the oil and gas companies claim are stymieing energy exploration in the state.
Supporters say the changes will require companies to start cleaning damaged areas to regulatory standards, while other, more extensive damages claims can be pursued in the courts. Certain benchmarks and timelines will be set in handling cases.
Existing cases already set for trial won’t be included in the reworked legal provisions.
The bills head to the governor’s desk.
The measures will allow cleanup plans devised by the Department of Natural Resources to be admissible as evidence in a lawsuit for a larger damage claim, a move sought by the energy industry.
Two other agencies, the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Agriculture, will also weigh in on the cleanup plan. That addresses complaints from landowners who said the industry has too heavy an influence over DNR and could pressure the agency in cleanup estimates that would be reviewed to determine damages.
Legacy lawsuits, often totaling millions of dollars, are filed by landowners who leased their property to energy companies and claim environmental damage from the drilling, such as contamination of ground water resources.
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