Legislative Report

The Green Army Legislative Scorecard

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The GreenARMY is a state-wide coalition of organizations, civic groups, and individuals fighting to preserve Louisiana’s culture and environment. The coalition has environmental campaigns that fall under the umbrella of clean air, clean water, clean land, and healthy food. Sierra Club in Louisiana is an active participant in Green Army efforts to direct the attention of state government and industry to environmental problems and the negative impacts to our communities caused by poorly regulated industrial operations.

The Legislative Scorecard has been developed in an effort to let the public know how State Representatives and Senators voted in the 2014 legislative session. The Scorecard provides a rating which compares their environmental voting records. The selected bills and amendments represent a wide range of environmental issues in Louisiana.

We suggest you congratulate your Representatives and Senators who scored highly, and let the others know that you expect them to do better.

Click this link to go to the Green Army Legislative Scorecard

Delta Chapter Election 2014 Information Packet for Louisiana Sierra Club Members

The Sierra Club has long been an organization that takes an active interest in the democratic process and its impact on the environment. The environment is playing a major role in this year’s election, and the results will have a major impact on America’s laws for protection of clean air, clean water, natural places, and wildlife.

To help inform voters about the issues at stake in this year’s election, we’ve compiled the following packet of information.

Legislative Update July 1, 2014

Sierra Club Delta Chapter was actively engaged with the 2014 legislative session in alliance with the Green Army and participant allied groups. The bills listed here are the ones we were most closely watching. The bills we supported are listed first, then the bills we opposed. The list has been updated to show the final outcome of each bill in the 2014 legislative session. 

State Lawmakers Defend Oil and Gas Industry by Passing SB 469

Wetlands sliced by oil canal St. Bernard Parish

The wetlands that defend coastal Louisiana - including the city of New Orleans -from storm surge are disappearing at an alarming rate. For decades these wetlands have been carved up by oil and gas activities such as dredging canals for navigation and to lay pipelines. A study conducted by the USGS concluded that between 1932 and 1990 Oil and Gas activities accounted for 249,152 acres – or over 36 percent of the total land loss experienced in coastal Louisiana during that period.

Update on SB 469 May 30, 2014

Despite intense lobbying by Sierra Club, Green Army and our allies, SB 469 was passed by the State House, passed back to the Senate for concurrence on amendments and passed out of the legislature to the governor’s desk. The governor has supported this proposed legislation all through the process and there is no reason to believe he will not sign it though Sierra Club and other organizations will be requesting the governor not to sign and stating our reasons publicly. SB 469 is the most direct assault by the legislature on the South Louisiana Flood Protection Authority lawsuit against 97 oil companies for damage to coastal wetlands. The controversy is not over. We will still see this appear in court one way or another.

Sierra Club Delta Chapter and its allies want to thank the members of the Louisiana Senate and House who voted for coastal restoration by voting NO on SB 469. We also want to thank all of our legislative action team members who helped by calling and sending emails to legislators. We continue to believe that the oil industry should pay for its fair share of damage to coastal wetlands rather than leaving that cost to fall completely on taxpayers. 

Special Alert - Please help us stop Senate Bill 469 in the Louisiana Legislature

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Please ask State Representatives to vote NO on SB 469

Your help is needed to stop SB 469 by Sen Brett Allain and Robert Adley when it is considered on the floor of  the Louisiana House of Representatives on May 29 or 30th.

Present law specifies that the secretary, the attorney general, an appropriate district attorney, or a local government may bring injunctive, declaratory, or other actions to ensure that only permitted activities may be conducted in the coastal zone.

The proposed law removes the authority of Levee Boards from being able to bring such legal action.

This is the most direct assault yet on the South Louisiana Flood Protection Authority (SLFPA) lawsuit against oil companies for damage to our coastal wetlands. We want to stop SB 469 so that the SLFPA complaint can be heard in court instead of being scuttled by a new law that retroactively kills complaints against the oil companies.

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.

HB 705 Solar Tax Credit Bill Goes to the Governor

State Capital w tree

The Louisiana House of Representatives voted today to concur on Senate amendments to HB 705. That means the bill now goes to the governor. In essence the very much discussed and amended bill leaves tax rebates for purchases of solar systems on single family residences in place until Dec 31, 2017. The tax rebate sunsets as of that date. As of July 1, 2013 (effective date of legislation if signed by gov.) the tax credit is limited to one system on a single family residence and the tax rebate is removed for wind systems and for solar systems on apartments.

Rebates for leased systems stay as they are until Jan 1, 2014. After that date they are capped at 38% of a maximum leased system cost of $25,000. After July 1, 2014 the share of leased system cost that is eligible for rebate is phased down to 38% of $21,000. After July 1, 2015 leased system eligible cost is reduced to 38% of $16,000. Tax rebates for leased systems sunset completely on Dec 31, 2017.

You can see the complete House summary of Senate amendments which they voted on today at http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=855187&n=Summary%20of%...

We think the governor will want to sign this bill because it makes the state tax credits for solar go away after the end of 2017. The conclusion to draw from this is that if you want a solar system on your home in Louisiana you had better get it done before end of 2017. If you want to install a system from a leasing company you best do it before Jan 1, 2014. Keep in mind that the 30% federal tax credit is still in place. We will be very interested to hear what the solar installers and leasing companies have to say about how this state legislation will affect their business.

Update: The Governor did sign HB 705 into law on June 21.

Solar Bill Passes Louisiana State Senate but …

State Capital w tree

SB 231 by Martiny and HB 705 by Ponti were introduced in this year’s legislative session on behalf of some in the solar industry in Louisiana as an attempt to head off complete elimination of tax rebates for installation of residential solar energy systems. The attempt was pro-active in offering a phase out of solar tax credits in exchange for their extension at least until Dec 31, 2017. Solar industry reps worked with the legislative fiscal office and the governor’s office ahead of the session in order to come up with a bill that would be acceptable. Since its introduction the legislation has assumed the identity of a ball in play as it changed form numerous times.

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