news
Options
newsnews-publications

"State of Louisiana Passes 'Green' Legislation"
Sarah S. Brehm
Jones Walker Environmental & Toxic Torts E*Bulletin
July 8, 2009

The Louisiana House and Senate considered several "green" bills and resolutions in its recently concluded legislative session. Lawmakers have realized that Louisiana is behind the national curve for laws that incentivize the implementation of greener technology—for both consumers and businesses. 

Legislation Approved:

Carbon Sequestration

  • House Bill 661 establishes a regulatory program under the Department of Natural Resources for carbon sequestration in Louisiana. The 22-page bill authorizes the Commissioner of Conservation to establish regulations for the underground injection and storage of carbon dioxide that will comply with federal environmental laws and gives the authority for using carbon dioxide in the enhanced recovery of oil and gas. Ownership, expropriation, liability, and civil penalties are also addressed in the bill. The House and Senate passed the bill, which was sent to the Governor for final approval on June 25, 2009.   

Green Jobs

  • House Bill 733 creates a text credit for certain "green job industries" that includes renewable energy companies, energy-efficient construction and retrofit companies, biofuel companies, and manufacturers of sustainable products that is not disadvantageous to materials or products manufactured in Louisiana. The bill allows up to $1 million per state-certified green project and no more than $5 million per year. The bill gives the secretary of the Department of Economic Development, the commissioner of administration, and the governor's office the authority to certify "green projects" through the adoption and promulgation of rules that establish program details. House Bill 733 was approved by House and Senate and sent to the Governor for executive approval on June 25, 2009.

Energy Systems

  • House Bill 858 expands the eligibility for the purchase and installation of residential wind and solar energy systems. La. R.S. 47:6030 currently provides a tax credit for individual homeowners; however, Bill 858 modifies the existing statute to add apartment complexes as well. House Bill 858 was approved by House and Senate and sent to the Governor for executive approval on June 25, 2009. 

Automobiles

  • Senate Bill 26 grants tax credits for the purchase of new, and the retrofitting of existing, automobiles, which utilize alternative fuels—such as liquefied natural gas, biodiesel, and electricity. Senate Bill 26 was approved by House and Senate and sent to the Governor for executive approval on June 25, 2009. 

Two Bills Considered, but Not Coming to a Vote, Included:

Energy Systems

  • Senate Bill 91 would have granted a transferable tax credit for the costs and expenses attributable to the cost of constructing or installing energy systems, which use "qualified energy resources," as defined in 26 U.S.C. § 45 of the Internal Revenue Code. Unlike the federal tax code; however, Bill 91 included facilities that burn biomass in conjunction with fossil fuels, to produce electricity and transfer the electricity to the point of use or storage. Senate Bill 91 was pending in Conference Committee on June 25, 2009, and the session ended without it coming to a vote. 

Carbon Capture

  • House Bill 192 would reduce the severance tax levied after payout on certain oil production that implements carbon capture technology by 50%. House Bill 192 was passed by the House on May 13, 2009; however, it was not heard by the Senate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee this session.

Resolutions

  • House Resolution 104 calls for the state to form a committee to study and develop an official green energy policy. The resolution states that "it is vital to the economy to identify, develop, demonstrate, and validate" sustainable and affordable new energy sources—with Louisiana leading the way. The resolution passed committee with no opposition and House Resolution 104 was adopted and filed with the Secretary of State on June 24, 2009. The House Committee on Commerce will now report the results of its studies, along with recommendations for changes to laws, regulations, and procedures governing green energy, to the House of Representatives by February 1, 2010.
  • Senate Resolution 38 urges and requests the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Natural Resources to promote the clean use of alternative feedstock by the petrochemical industry; to benchmark incentives for companies that could use alternative feedstock; and to provide a report with such benchmarks and recommendations to the appropriate committees of the Legislature of Louisiana at least two months prior to the opening of the 2010 Regular Session. The Resolution was passed by the House and filed with the Secretary of State on May 14, 2009.
  • House Concurrent Resolution 93 forms the Louisiana Climate Change Policy Commission ("LCCPC"). The LCCPC will consist of 20 members, including 7 state agency appointees from Departments such as Environmental Quality and Natural Resources, as well as 5 members appointed by the governor from a list of nominated Louisiana professors. The committee is charged with evaluating policy considerations for the development and implementation of a comprehensive state policy for climate change, particularly addressing the areas of carbon sequestration; greenhouse gas reduction; diversification and improvement of energy systems; planning for design, land use, and economic development relative to climate change mitigation; and environmental improvement—all in coordination with federal climate change policies. It was passed by the House and Senate and filed with the Secretary of State on June 11, 2009.