Comments on 2012 Legislation
by Kathy R. Wascom and Barbara Dodds
The big issue this session was Legacy Lawsuits. Compromise legislation that passed in 2006 was challenged as not working to expedite the cleanup of old contaminated oilfield sites. Compromise bills by Sen. Adley and Rep. Abramson were agreed to and passed(SB555/Adley and HB618/Abramson).
Other important environmental legislation:
LEAN strongly opposed SB748/Morrish Gas distribution lines not reporting fewer than 1,000 lb releases. LEAN testified in committee and sent a letter to every member of the House outlining the dangers of non-reporting, It was passed overwhelmingly in spite of our efforts.
SB451/Walsworth would have added expedited permits for solid and hazardous waste landfills to be included in the expedited permitting program. LEAN objected to this and then researched the law. We found a problem in the law governing the process. The bill never moved
LEAN objected strongly to SB474/Perry that would have exempted carriers of non-hazardous waste from oversight by the Public Service Commission. It passed the Senate, but was deferred in House Natural Resources committee.
LEAN supported SB532/Mills that would have reduced daily withdrawals from the Chicot Aquifer for the purpose of scouring out salt mines for petroleum or gas storage to a maximum of 2 million gallons per day and required a Environmental Impact Statement in order to obtain a permit. Bill was heard by both the Senate Natural Resources Committee and Senate Health and Welfare Committee and was involuntarily deferred in both. On the House floor, Representative Montoucet tried to amend the legislation on to another water bill, but the amendment failed.
The new Coastal Restoration Plan passed handily (SCR41 Morrish) as well as a statute requiring oil spill fine and penalty money to be deposited in the Coastal Restoration and Protection Fund. (HB838/ Act 805)Champagne)