State Legislative Update May 5, 2016 and Action Alert

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May 5, 2016 Update

House floor votes on HB 11 by Rep Gene Reynolds and HB 469 by Rep Paul Connick have been put off until this coming week, possibly as early as Monday, May 9. Please continue to contact state representatives, especially the ones who represent you in your district and nearby districts. Urge them to vote FOR HB 11 and HB 469. See details in my May 1 post here. Thanks for whatever you can do to help.

May 1, 2016 Post

It was an eventful week for the Green legislative agenda at the Louisiana legislature this past week. Amazingly we passed two of our three GreenArmy bills out of the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee (HNR&E).

HB 11 is Gene Reynolds bill to ban the open burning of munitions and waste explosives in Louisiana. The bill was amended to allow the military or state police to open burn waste explosives, effectively prohibiting only private companies or individuals. The bill passed out of the committee on a close vote of 9/8.

HB 469 by Paul Connick requiring fenceline air monitoring for industries located next to residential neighborhoods was amended to only cover those industries which have had three air permit violations in a 24 month period, the so called “bad actors.” Rep Connick did a great job of working the bill and it passed out of HNR&E on a vote of 17/1. Both HB 11 and HB 469 now head to the House for a floor vote.

The one of our bills that did not make it was HB 553 by Denise Marcelle to limit industrial pumping from the Southern Hills aquifer under Baton Rouge and to change the makeup of the management board to limit industry influence. The limitation of industry representation seemed to be what rankled the committee and it was stopped by a negative vote of the committee. So this bill will not proceed in this legislative session but we will bring it back next year in some form that may be more agreeable to the committee.

Action this coming week

Our two bills that passed HNR&E Committee this past week will be up for floor vote on Wed, May 4. We think there will be moves by industry against both bills in the House and we are asking for you to make calls to the people who represent you in the Louisiana House of Representatives. You can find contact info for your state representatives by going to this link and selecting your Parish: http://house.louisiana.gov/H_Reps/H_Reps_ByParish.aspx

When you call, just identify yourself, where you live and tell the staff person that you want the Representative to vote for HB 11 by Gene Reynolds to prohibit open burning of waste explosives in Louisiana. And tell the staff person that you want the Representative to vote for HB 469 by Paul Connick to require fenceline air monitoring for industrial “bad actors.”

The following points of information can be used if needed to strengthen your position:

HB 11 by Rep Gene Reynolds: 1) The waste disposal contractor can utilize closed vessel combustion that controls emissions. It is cheaper for the contractor to use open burn but not worth the threat to the health of people living in the area. 2) Other states prohibit open burning of explosives but they ship their waste explosives to us. If other states don’t allow open burning of waste explosives, why do we want to let them do it here in Louisiana. 3) The thermal treatment facility in Colfax is way behind its times, it is a nuisance and a threat to public safety and public health. Contaminants including heavy metals and chemicals are being dispersed into the air.

HB 469 by Rep Paul Connick: The bill has been amended so that industrial air polluters that have violated their air permit 3 times within 24 months, the “bad actors” must install fenceline air monitoring within 120 days of their 3rd violation. 1) The bill is designed to protect plant workers, 1st responders, children who live near the plants, communities and schools from discharges including benzene and hydrogen sulfide. We need to know what people near industrial facilities are breathing. 2) Fenceline air monitoring is being done in other states at locations where there are threats to public health from industrial activity. We can do it here to protect fenceline communities.

If you would like to be on an email list to receive Legislative Updates and Calls for Action please send me an email with "Updates" in the subject line to: hrmartin2sc@gmail.com Please sign up, we need your help to call legislators and let them know we support (or oppose) certain proposed legislation.

Haywood "Woody" Martin, Chair
Sierra Club Delta Chapter

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