Energy industry proponents push new bill in legacy lawsuit struggle

Kyle Barnett May 14, 2012, 1:18pm


BATON ROUGE – Energy industry proponents are preparing to introduce a new bill in committee on Wednesday that would reform the way legacy lawsuits are handled.

"Right now we've rejected all of the proposals that have been sent to us and we're hoping on Wednesday to have a special hearing on Senate Bill 443 by J.P. Morrell," said Don Briggs President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. "That's what we are going to try to move with an amendment."

Senator Jean-Paul Morrell, D–New Orleans, is sponsoring SB443, which is much like an earlier bill that passed by a large margin in the House - HB618 - but which still has not been assigned to a committee since arriving in the Senate on May 3.

Briggs the new bill is being shaped to be even more "favorable" toward the energy industry.

"I feel very comfortable that we'll have a good hearing in Senate Judiciary A and that we'll be able to hear it on the Senate floor and they'll be able to move it forward into the House," he said. "Do I think time is short? Yes. But we're fighting for every inch we can get."

The legislative session is set to end in just over three weeks on June 4, but Briggs said he is confident that there is enough time in the session still for legacy lawsuit reform to pass.

"Wednesday is an important day for us and then I feel it'll go on to the floor and we'll just keep on chugging," Briggs said. "We're down to the wire. We don't have any hiccup days so to speak."

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