LABI Logo Get Involved

Energy & Environmental Quality.

LABI represents energy-producing, transporting and consuming industries. We will continue to support energy policies that will promote high-paying jobs in this industry that help our resilient service companies thrive. We oppose the abusive litigation that has directly contributed to this sector’s decline and will delay and/or derail its recovery. We promote the production of all forms of energy at competitive prices, opposing increased unreasonable taxes and fees on energy sources, encouraging conservation of resources, and balancing environmental concerns with energy production and usage.

 


Current Issues.


General Policies

General Environmental Legislation and Regulations: Support environmental legislation and regulations that balance environmental concerns with economic realities and are workable, practical, equitable and consistent.

Consistent Enforcement: Support fair and consistent enforcement of Louisiana environmental laws and regulations, but oppose using unrelated measures, such as environmental justice actions and/or restricting the availability of tax exemption programs, as penalties for environmental violations.

Administration Liaison: Work closely with the administration to assure that regulatory agencies and legislative committees dealing with the environment will understand the importance of fostering a climate conducive to economic development while protecting the environment through the use of sound science.

Management of Waste: Support legislation and regulations that allow business, industry and local governing authorities to take advantage of all environmentally sound waste management technologies, including but not limited to reuse, recycling and waste exchanges. LABI supports regulatory programs that encourage free enterprise and a competitive business climate. LABI opposes excessively complex regulations that discourage the beneficial use of sound technologies and by-products.

Water Policy: Support a fair, flexible, and scientifically based statewide water use policy that considers the needs of all water users. Monitor the development of state and federal water conservation programs to ensure that all water users – industrial, residential and commercial – are assured adequate access to usable water sources.

Landowner Rights: Support legislation to require the governing body to deal openly with the landowner and to adequately compensate property owners for loss of use or devaluation of their property caused by environmental regulations, laws or policy. Oppose the regulation of any use or condemnation of private property unless based on adequately demonstrated public need.

Litter: Support and encourage all reasonable efforts to eliminate litter in Louisiana, including anti-litter public campaigns.

Refining Capacity: Encourage expansion of Louisiana’s oil refining capacity by removing any state-imposed barriers to construction of new and expanded refining facilities.

Oil and Gas Development: Support legislation that will continue to offer incentives and a regulatory climate which would stimulate oil and gas exploration and production in Louisiana. Support streamlining of exploration, production and transportation permitting and reduction of regulatory burdens. Support primacy of state regulation over the siting, zoning, permitting, regulation of hydraulic fracturing, and other aspects of oil and natural gas operations. Oppose legislation and/or regulations that would impose additional restrictions on mineral leasing, drilling permit acquisition, or other onerous requirements that act as a disincentive to exploration, production and transportation of natural gas and oil unless and until valid, scientific studies document significant adverse impacts on the environment and risk assessments are attached.

Liquefied Natural Gas: Support legislation and/or regulations that will promote the development of LNG terminals both onshore and offshore Louisiana.

Fuel Mandates: Oppose legislation that will mandate the use or supply of any specific fuel for gasoline, diesel or electricity generation.

Abrogation of Contracts: Oppose legislation which would abrogate existing contracts between parties.


Litigation

Government-sponsored Litigation: The onslaught of government-sponsored lawsuits creates a damaging precedent of regulation through litigation. Oppose efforts by governmental entities to use litigation to harass businesses when engaged in lawful activities. All civil law enforcement statutes are jeopardized when the state uses regulations to extort money rather than ensure compliance.

Lawsuit Climate: Support any appropriate modifications to existing laws concerning oil and gas legacy lawsuits, coastal lawsuits, and environmental lawsuits along with proposed changes to mineral lease obligations that bring fairness to industry and the public alike, and promote rather than quash, industry growth, employment, and long-term tax revenues without compromising reasonable protection of human health and the environment. Strongly defend any legislative advances made to existing law.

Contingency Fees: Oppose legislation that would authorize state or local government to enter into contingency fee contracts or to employ outside counsel to be paid by the defendants or the state from the proceeds of awards and/or settlements. Support additional legislative oversight.

Subsequent Purchaser: Oppose legislation which would create a right of action to assert claims for environmental damages that were caused or sustained prior to acquisition by a purchaser of the property.

Liability: Oppose any expansion of punitive damages, criminal penalties or “bad actor” provisions in environmental law or regulations.


Taxation

Energy Taxation:  Oppose suspension of exemptions from taxes which are granted to producers and consumers of energy products and sources. Oppose increased or new taxes or fees on oil, natural gas and other hydrocarbons, such as: a processing, transportation, or refinery tax; a sales tax on business utilities; a change in the calculation of the natural gas or other energy franchise taxes which would increase the cost. An increased severance tax or suspension of severance tax exemptions; a sales tax on natural gas transportation, a coastal wetlands environmental levy, a “first use” tax; or a property tax on minerals in place or a reservoir tax. Lastly, a change in the industrial tax exemption program (ITEP), which reduces its benefit.

Definition of Energy Sources: Support legislation which will clarify the definition of “energy sources” to assure that all are excluded from state sales and use tax.

Local Energy Taxation: Oppose legislation which would eliminate the constitutional ban on local taxation of all motor fuels.

Lease Use/Plant-Use Gas: Support legislation affirming the historical treatment of natural gas used at the lease and at gas processing plants as not being subject to sales or use taxes.

By-Products: Maintain the non-taxable status of by-products and intermediate materials.

Mineral Taxes: Support legislation and/or regulations that will establish the fair market value for oil, natural gas, and oil and natural gas equipment for taxation purposes.

Assessment Practices/Electric Utilities: Oppose redistribution of tax proceeds to parishes other than the parish where the electric utility plant is located.


Standards and Definitions

Environmental Audits/DEQ: Support legislation to eliminate or reduce the number of conditions a company must meet to obtain protections for self-auditing, and make the policy clear, meaningful and useful to businesses conducting environmental self-audits.

Coal Combustion Residuals: Support efforts for LDEQ to adopt coal combustion residual state permit program.

Green Building Standards: Oppose measures mandating use of standards which do not demonstrate measurable or proven energy savings or which detrimentally impact Louisiana industries.

DHH Chlorination Rules: Support efforts, including legislation, to establish reasonable, scientifically-based DHH chlorination rules for industrial facilities, particularly as over-chlorination resulting from DHH’s currently mandated level can create disinfectant byproducts, such as trihalomethanes.

Disposal Bans: Oppose legislation or regulations which prohibit landfill disposal of any waste stream and which does not include a comprehensive plan to ensure that the infrastructure and arrangements will be in place when the ban takes effect. Such plan shall ensure that the banned materials will, in fact, be recycled in a cost-efficient manner to the manufacturer, generator and the recycler of the waste stream.

Clean Air: Support efforts to make Louisiana’s air quality programs equivalent to and no more restrictive than the federal Clean Air Act. Support legislation and rules that equitably distribute the responsibility for meeting air quality requirements among all emission sources. Support DEQ efforts to promote federal acceptance of reasonable state air quality programs. Strongly encourage DEQ to promptly update the State Implementation Plan (SIP) to incorporate EPA’s favorable changes to federal rules, and support additional regulatory reform. Oppose efforts to mandate inappropriate, costly, and inconsistent monitoring programs, including fence line monitoring.

National Air Toxic Assessments: Support transparent and open NATA process and peer review of risk-based conclusions.

Oilfield Wastes: Oppose legislation that would unilaterally reclassify oilfield wastes as hazardous or any other inappropriate classification. Encourage the development of scientifically appropriate, reasonable testing regulations that accurately demonstrate the non-hazardous nature of the majority of oilfield wastes. Evaluate and support appropriate disposal and treatment options for exploration and production wastes for facilities regulated by DEQ and DNR.

Renewable Energy Standards: Oppose mandates which would impose renewable fuels portfolio standards that would require electricity providers to obtain a minimum percentage of their power from renewable energy resources by a certain date.


Utilities

Fuel Diversity: Encourage fuel-use diversity, whenever economically feasible, in order to reduce Louisiana’s dependence on a single fuel for electricity generation.

Energy Market Competition: Support a fair and fully competitive retail electricity market that allows all consumers the right to choose their supplier of electricity. The move to competition should:

• Provide for the transition to competition for all consumers;

• Require the continued regulation of the transmission and distribution of electricity;

• Provide incentives that will encourage the expansion and upgrade of electricity transmission facilities;
• Promote reliability of electric service for all consumers;

• Require the equitable sharing of net verifiable stranded costs that cannot be mitigated;
• Protect consumers from unwarranted shifts in tax burdens; and

• Provide for the prompt amendment or repeal of statutory constraints to open access.

Gas Market Competition: Support a fair and fully competitive retail natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and liquefied petroleum gas market that allows all consumers the right to choose their supplier of natural gas.

Alternative Energy and Feedstock Development: Support legislation that will promote use of alternative energy sources but does not unduly favor one energy form over another.

Cost of Service: Oppose legislation that would shift the cost of electricity service from one class of consumer to another. Oppose legislation or regulations that would force consumers to absorb the costs of providing service to customers of another utility company in another service territory. Oppose imposition of taxes or fees to subsidize energy assistance programs within the Public Service Commission.

Electricity Transmission: Encourage the Louisiana Public Service Commission to require that all repairs to the electricity transmission and distribution system, to the greatest extent possible, incorporate upgrades sufficient to meet federal goals of re-tooling the nation’s transmission system. Support legislation that would grant tax incentives for upgrading the state’s electric transmission and distribution grid. Promote improved transmission, evaluate cost-effective storm hardening, and seek access to lower-cost generation for all consumers.

Utility Exemption from Louisiana Monopoly Law: Support legislation to exempt from the provisions regulating monopolies the electric and gas utility companies which are subject to the jurisdiction of the LPSC, the City Council of the City of New Orleans, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or any other public utility regulatory body with ratemaking or other general regulatory authority over an electric or gas utility company.


Fees and Funding

Exclusive Jurisdiction of State Agencies: Support legislation to ensure that all interests within the state are treated equally with respect to matters of environmental permitting and regulation by promoting exclusive authority of state agencies to issue environmental permits and adopt and enforce environmental regulations, including the Coastal Management Program. Such legislation should expressly preclude the ability of political subdivisions to interfere with the authority of state agencies through adoption of local ordinances that go beyond traditional land use planning and zoning so as to hinder or frustrate the ability of state agencies to make decisions regarding environmental permitting and regulation.

Administrative Procedures: Ensure that the Division of Administrative Law be maintained. Further, require DEQ adherence to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to ensure due process, fairness and accuracy in the promulgation and implementation of regulations and policies. The APA should guide the conduct of administrative procedures relative to actions and decisions by the department.

Emergency Response: Support legislation to give the appropriate governmental entities principal jurisdiction over emergency response action. Support DEQ’s flexibility in assisting regulated facilities and generators to react and respond in the event of an emergency.

Consistency, Validity and Consolidation of Regulations: Encourage state and local agencies to streamline and simplify compliance with environmental programs by revising laws, regulations, standards, enforcement procedures, fees and penalties to be consistent with federal requirements. Consolidate, merge or eliminate duplicative or overlapping regulatory programs and reporting to reduce the costly regulatory burden on industry. Base regulations on valid science, rather than upon unsupportable allegations or claims. LABI supports DEQ’s efforts to coordinate federal and state environmental programs and recognizes DEQ’s primacy in federally delegated programs.

Disaster Recovery: Work with local, state and federal officials and regulatory agencies to remove obstacles to economic recovery in areas damaged by natural disasters.

Permits: Streamline the permitting process. Encourage the development and use of general permits for similar groups of facilities. Encourage DEQ to eliminate the backlog of pending permits and to issue permits timely.

  • Support the expansion and continued implementation of DEQ’s regulatory permit program.
  • Support legislation and/or regulation which minimizes uncertainty and provides clear guidance to DEQ and regulated entities relative to information, such as compliance with the “IT decision” (Save Ourselves, Inc. v Louisiana Environmental Control Commission, 452 So.2d 1152 (La. 1984)), which is required for issuance of permits and, upon compliance, ensures the issuance of permits.
  • Oppose efforts, especially taxpayer-funded efforts to stop or inhibit economic development by those claiming to be fighting for environmental justice but who are opposed to any industrial growth.
  • Support and encourage the timely granting of permits that are valid for the life of the facility, especially solid waste facilities.
  • Oppose measures that would jeopardize the integrity of a permit during its term.
  • Encourage informal dialogue between DEQ and the regulated community about permitting and enforcement matters. Allow permitees to review an early draft of their permit for accuracy and completeness. Encourage DEQ to accept submittal of permit applications and other information by electronic means (e-data submittal).

Small Business: Support efforts to minimize the regulatory burden on small business, and support and participate in activities to assist small business with environmental compliance.

Interagency Consistency: Encourage an ongoing dialogue among state agencies to ensure interagency regulatory consistency.

Consumer Advocacy: Oppose legislation that would establish new programs within new or existing agencies or departments that require public funding for representation or intervention in regulatory proceedings.

Oilfield Wastes: Support the current jurisdiction of the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Quality and oppose changing the jurisdiction thereof to the Attorney General or to any other department or agency.


Reporting

Reporting Requirements: Work with DEQ and the Louisiana State Police to provide an alternative means of communication or a temporary suspension of penalties for reporting violations when normal means of communication have been disrupted.

Environmental Compliance Records: Support accurate facility compliance records by encouraging clear, concise differentiation by DEQ between an issued and/or pending order and a resolved and recorded legal enforcement action. Encourage DEQ to include in the official compliance record only settled or resolved enforcement actions. Support and promote prompt resolution of enforcement issues and encourage DEQ and the assistant secretary to address these issues to the extent known and problematic within a reasonable period of time.

Emergency Reporting: Support efforts to implement statutes requiring DEQ and the Department of Public Safety to create a statewide uniform emergency reporting and notification system. Lists of reportable chemicals and quantities must be made identical, with penalties prohibited for substances not on the DEQ list.

Access to Information: Support implementation of state law with regard to freedom of information to assure that it adequately serves the needs of the general public and the private sector, while protecting the confidentiality of sensitive information where appropriate. Support the implementation of Act 636 of 2004 that authorizes DEQ to restrict access to certain security sensitive information for the purpose of preventing its distribution or dissemination via the Internet.

Right-to-Know: Support making Louisiana’s Right-to-Know program consistent with the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA), Title III.


Pipelines

Intrastate and Interstate Pipelines: Participate actively with governmental entities and leaders to ensure the viability and integrity of the state’s intrastate pipeline systems and those interstate pipeline systems that operate and serve customers in Louisiana.

Assessment Practices/Pipelines: Support equitable assessment practices for pipelines classified as public service properties.

Expropriation: Support the existing Louisiana statutes and constitutional guarantees for the orderly expropriation of property and for the compensation for those properties expropriated for energy-related transmission or product transportation.


Storage

Solution Mining and Hydrocarbon Storage: In an effort to stabilize market prices of natural gas and other hydrocarbons for all consumers and to encourage the storage of CO2, support legislation to encourage development of salt domes and other storage facilities in the state of Louisiana. Support reasonable regulations for the safe permitting and operation of solution mining wells and hydrocarbon storage.

Injection Wells: Support the retention of the responsibility for Class I and Class II injection wells related to oil and gas exploration and production within the Department of Natural Resources.


Contacts.

 

George Guidry

Chair, Environmental Quality Council
Koch Companies Public Sector
george.guidry@kochps.com