Legislative Update April 23, 2014

Sierra Club Delta Chapter is actively engaged with the 2014 legislative session in alliance with the Green Army and participant allied groups. We will keep this page updated with status of key pieces of legislation as the legislative session proceeds. The bills we are most closely watching and our positions on those bills are as follows:

April 15 Update on SB 650

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The news on this bill is not good. SB 650 was passed with favorable recommendation out of Senate Environment Committee on April 15. The bill then goes to the Senate floor. Sierra Club and Alliance for Affordable Energy made statements in opposition. LEAN was there to support us. Lobbyists from coal, oil, natural gas, railroads, chemical industries and electric utilities were there in favor of this bad bill. La DEQ also made a statement in support and provided an amendment. The committee voted the bill out as ammended with a favorable recomendation. 

Ask Louisiana Senators to vote NO on SB 650

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On Tuesday, April 15, the Louisiana Senate Environment Committee will be considering legislation to water down Clean Air Act rules intended to regulate greenhouse emissions from industrial sources.

This proposed legislation is dangerous because greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fueled power plants have been shown to be a major cause of global average temperature rise, sea level rise and severe climate related events. Louisiana is one of the states that are most vulnerable to the effects of extreme storms and sea level rise. 

Oliver Houck on the Lake Pontchartrain Shell Dredging Affair

Oliver Houck

In Memorian for Michael Osborne, the Lake Pontchartrain Shell Dredging Affair

Sierra Club New Orleans Group member meeting. Sunday, April 13, featuring Oliver Houck as our guest speaker.

Oliver Houck will discuss the rise of a remarkable set of lawsuits and related actions that would, after many twists and turns, terminate shell dredging in the Lake and along the coast, giving nature a chance to come back from a practice that had outrun its day.

Sierra Club Delta Chapter Comments, SASOL Industrial Complex

Sierra Club Delta Chapter
P.O. Box 52503
Lafayette, Louisiana 70505

March 27, 2014

LDEQ Public Participation Group
P.O. Box 4313
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4313

Re: AI Number 3271, Permit Number GTL and LCCP, Activity Number PER20130016 through PER20130031, and Water Permit Number LA 0003336 and Activity Number PER20130015

Sierra Club Delta Chapter submits the following comments regarding proposed air and water discharge permits for the SASOL North America Inc. Lake Charles Chemical Complex

Help Stop Senate Bill 79 - Latest update

Just after Hurricane Katrina Citizens in Louisiana fought for and won significant reforms protecting nonpolitical selection of members on the Flood Protection Authority boards. Voters overwhelmingly supported reform when they approved a 2006 constitutional amendment by more than 90% in Orleans Parish and more than 80% statewide. Those reforms specified that levee authority board members would be chosen for their qualifications and would be independent of political influence.

Green Army Lobby Day, Tuesday, April 1, 2014

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The Green Army Legislative Lobby Day will be happening on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at the Louisiana State Capitol. Our theme will be “Save Our Water.”  We have reserved ¾ of the capitol rotunda floor space between the House and Senate Chambers. Green Groups are invited to put up exhibits and displays to bring attention to environmental and public health issues of concern in Louisiana. We will start setting up displays at 9:00 am.

All are welcome to come and attend House and Senate legislative committee meetings that start at 9:30 am or 1:00 pm, or to go with us on tours of the capitol. Experienced capitol hands will be in the display area to assist our visitors in attending committee hearings or meeting with their legislators. Please come and invite your friends, especially folks you think would like to be on the Green Army action list of people who will contact legislators during the session. Everybody attending for lobby day should stop by our tables in the capitol rotunda to get a briefing and to pick up a Green Army volunteer sticker.

Louisiana Public Service Commission Looks to Go Backward on Solar, March 12 Update

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The LPSC was slated to consider two rules at their Wednesday, March 12, 9:00 am meeting which could drastically reduce the presence of residential solar in Louisiana. The proposed rules would drastically reduce Net Metering Compensation and could reduce the number of solar systems in each utility. 

Update

The LPSC decided again today, March 12, not to decide. For the last year and a half Commissioner Clyde Holloway has threatened almost every monthly meeting with one idea or another to set back our progress for solar net metering, renewable energy or energy efficiency in Louisiana. Many of those times we have had to call on Sierra Club members and allies to call the commissioners offices to voice our support for residential solar in Louisiana. When I called my commissioner Scott Angelle his staff person said they were getting a lot of calls. So we know the commissioners have been hearing from us. Thanks to all who called, your support really matters.

The commission today decided to pass over the agenda items to limit solar but did entertain full discussion. Many of our allies were there to give statements in support of solar. The commissioners did decide to do something that we have been asking for a long time, that is, just do a study. Chairman Skrmetta passed a directive to initiate an RFP (request for proposals) for a consultant to do study of the costs and benefits of residential solar in Louisiana. The study is to be completed by Nov 30, 2014. The current rules on net metering will stay as they are for now. They intend to use the results of the study to set rates for solar so we will be back before the commissioners during that process.

But at this time we cannot drop our attention to this issue. Much will depend on the wording of the RFP that goes out. Commissioner Skrmetta can make sure his wording gets in there. But will the RFP and the study be conducted in a fair and independent way. You can be sure we and our allies will be watching. Thanks again for your calls to the commissioners.

Green Army Event - Louisiana Water Festival, March 8, 2014

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Green Army Event

Louisiana Water Festival, State Capital Grounds, Baton Rouge March 8, 2014, 1 to 3 pm Speakers: Russell L. Honore (Ret), LA Green Army; John Barry, Restore Louisiana Now; Marylee Orr, LEAN; Sandy Rosenthal, Levees.org; Jonathan Henderson, GRN; Darryl Malek-Wiley, Sierra Club; Louisiana League of Women Voters; Louisiana Progress; Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and others. Everybody is invited.

Update, see video of the event here

 

Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club Statement on Keystone Pipeline Report

February 3, 2014

Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club
Statement on Keystone Pipeline Report

For Immediate Release

Contact: Haywood Martin, Chapter Chair
chair@louisiana.sierraclub.org
337-232-7953

The U.S. State Department released its final supplemental environmental impact statement on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, January 31, 2014. Contrary to the impression given in some media stories, this is not the end of the decision-making process. Further steps include a recommendation by the Secretary of State and review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before a final decision by President Obama.

The Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club in Louisiana has joined the national Sierra Club and many other groups, communities, and individuals in opposing construction of the pipeline. The decision on the Keystone XL pipeline represents a historic opportunity for the US to show leadership on moving away from dependence on dirty fossil fuels toward a clean energy economy.

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