Legacy lawsuit reform signed into law by Governor Jindal

Kyle Barnett Jun. 14, 2012, 6:12am

Governor Bobby Jindal

BATON ROUGE – Governor Bobby Jindal has put an official end to the legacy lawsuit battle that racked the 2012 Louisiana legislative session.

Jindal on Wednesday signed into law two partner bills that together will change the process by which legacy lawsuits - involving cleanup efforts of environmental damage from drilling years ago - are handled.

HB618 sponsored by Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, and SB555, sponsored by Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, will provide oil producers with the ability to admit to responsibility for cleaning up pollution from past oil drilling activities without admitting to larger damages that in past trials have yielded awards in the tens of millions of dollars.

In addition, a mechanism was created that will allow the Department of Natural Resources to develop a cleanup plan for polluted lands that would be open to public scrutiny via public hearing. The Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Agriculture cleanup will also have the ability to weigh in on any cleanup plan.

Called one of the hottest topics of the session early on by industry advocates, legacy lawsuit reform went through multiple phases before landowners and energy producers came to a compromise on the issue in mid-May.

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