Political & Legislative

The Zero Candidate - a letter to newsmedia

Bill Cassidy - The Zero Candidate

The League of Conservation Voters has crafted an Environmental Scorecard for Congress for several decades now. The Scorecard grades voting records for Senators and Representatives in each Session of Congress, as well as lifetime score for each member.

It’s not surprising that Louisiana’s delegation has generally scored poorly, given the political influence of the petrochemical industry in our state. But the scores in the last few years have plummeted for Republican members of the state delegation, reflecting a highly conservative ideology combining hatred of government, disdain for science, and the power of campaign contributions with a lack of regard for America’s natural heritage.

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.

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. 

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

State Capital w tree

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.

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.

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