Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Modernization of CPRA and DENR Receives Strong Support

by BPT Staff
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Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry today applauded Representative Bret Geymann and others for their role in developing legislation to modernize the Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR) to provide for better management of the State’s natural resources, in addition to offering positive changes to the make-up of the Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority Board (CPRA).

Since taking office, Governor Landry has prioritized the need to reform State government to become better at addressing the needs of Louisiana and its people by focusing on ways to streamline processes to promote responsive governance while providing significant returns to the taxpayers and the industries that call Louisiana home. In doing so, Governor Landry continues to work with DENR to identify areas where integrating best practices throughout the administration can lead to meaningful change.

After extensive discussions with DENR, Representative Geymann introduced HB 806 and HB 810 last week to begin that process. The two bills introduced by Representative Geymann will update DENR’s statutory language to reflect the needs of Louisiana’s growing energy industry and ensure that Louisiana maintains its role as a national leader in energy production. The bills also provide for further growth within DENR by statutorily creating or integrating the following offices under DENR:

  • The Natural Resources Trust Authority (NRTA) will seek to reverse the decline in oil and gas production by establishing a finance arm for the State Mineral and Energy Board that will develop, in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Treasury and State Bond Commission, a strategic plan to identify financial challenges facing the energy industry and natural resources-related projects. The NRTA would provide guidance and oversight for managing operators in the natural resources/energy industry in creating financial instruments that provide appropriate funding for plugging and abandonment obligations for operators who are orphaned. At the same time, it would oversee funding methods for natural resources-related projects, such as those carried out by CPRA, and public-private projects in the inter-related natural resources/energy/water management spaces.
  • The Office of Enforcement will handle all regulatory enforcement activities related to energy development and production, consolidating what have previously been separate efforts by various divisions within the agency. By centralizing this activity within DENR, in addition to functions such as permit review, rulemaking, and record-keeping, the enforcement function can be better focused while working closely with the regulatory/compliance side to ensure that enforcement practices remain consistent with statutory law and any regulations developed within the Secretary’s office.
  • The Office of Energy will provide a path forward with permitting and developing multiple energy sources. It is vital to ensure that the current functions of the State Energy Office remain closely aligned with DENR to support any activities related to deploying new technologies and practices to help the State manage the expansion of its energy portfolio. 
  • The Office of Land and Water will ensure that any activities carried out related to water management are done so in a manner that recognizes the relationship between different watersheds and aquifers and encompasses the needs of all communities and stakeholders, from residential use to commercial to industrial. 
  • The Office of the Oil Spill Coordinator (LOSCO) will become a part of DENR and preserve all statutory functions to ensure continuity of its function. LOSCO will maintain its role as a lead agency for the State in responding to oil spills while also providing LOSCO with representation within an agency that has a natural connection to its core function.

Following the release of HB 806 and HB 810, Governor Jeff Landry issued the following statement highlighting the incredible support these two bills have from the energy, environment, coastal, and legislative communities.

“These bills signal a new day for Louisiana—one where government is better aligned and works more efficiently and effectively for the people of Louisiana. Our oil and gas industry and our beautiful coast are what defines Louisiana, and it is important we prioritize both. These two bills will ensure both CPRA and LDENR work hand-in-hand to ultimately pave the way for a brighter future for Louisiana,” said Governor Jeff Landry.

“I am resolutely committed to advancing House Bill 806 and House Bill 810, recognizing their critical roles in addressing today’s multifaceted challenges, along with those to come, including orphaned oil and gas wells and the imperative need for recurring funding for coastal restoration projects. These bills represent a holistic approach to modernizing our department, enabling us to tackle pressing issues into the future. HB 806, through its restructuring of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board, strengthens our state’s capacity to oversee and implement vital coastal protection and restoration initiatives, ensuring efficient and effective management of our coastal resources. Meanwhile, HB 810 not only promotes responsible energy production but also ensures recurring funding mechanisms for vital coastal restoration efforts, essential for protecting our state’s invaluable coastal ecosystems. As we navigate impending fiscal challenges, it’s imperative that we prioritize sustainable energy development and environmental conservation. These bills provide a strategic framework to address these priorities comprehensively, securing a resilient and prosperous future for Louisiana,” said LDNR Secretary Tyler Gray.

“Protecting and restoring Louisiana’s coast is top priority of this administration, and we must innovate and enhance our efforts,” said Chairman Gordon E. Dove. “CPRA is committed to the shared mission of efficiently implementing projects that preserve the rich history, vibrant culture, resilient people, and vital industries that makeup Louisiana. We look forward to continued collaboration with Governor Landry and our partner agencies.”

“Bold and swift action is paramount to addressing Louisiana’s rapidly deteriorating coast,” said CPRA Executive Director Glenn Ledet, Jr. “We are eager to work toward solutions that streamline processes and drive progress, securing the future of our coastal state and the people who live, work, and recreate here.”

“I am encouraged by the introduction of these bills, which signifies a significant stride towards modernizing the Louisiana Department of Energy and Natural Resources. This legislation not only underscores our commitment to fostering responsible production of energy resources but also addresses the need for streamlining regulations, compliance, and permitting and modernize our office to the evolving energy landscape. By embracing innovation and efficiency, HB 810 will enable our department to effectively navigate the complexities of modern energy development while ensuring regulatory compliance and environmental stewardship. I am confident that this bill will propel our department into the future, facilitating economic growth in the energy sector,” said Commissioner of Conservation Ben Bienvenu.

“This alignment will enhance our government’s efficiency and will integrate government functions to better capitalize on opportunities. We are excited to be a part of this effort,” said Taylor Barras Commissioner of Administration.

“I am happy to see our government working together to better align and coordinate these agencies. I look forward to the continued collaboration between our agency and the Governor’s office to ensure Louisiana has a bright future,” said Colonel Robert P. Hodges.

“We are looking forward to coordinating with DENR on energy related land and water bottom matters,” said Cheston S. Hill Public Lands Administrator.


“As Louisiana Speaker of the House, I recognize our state’s deep-rooted connection to the Mississippi River and the pivotal role of the energy industry in shaping our identity. I am eager to witness a new era of innovation and progress in energy development that not only enhances our economy but also promotes environmental sustainability, paving the way for a brighter future for all Louisianans,” said Speaker Phillip DeVillier.

 “CPRA’s remarkable journey from infancy to adulthood exemplifies its unparalleled capacity for adaptation and growth. Witnessing its evolution, from conceptualization to tangible action, fills me with immense pride. As a participant in this transformative journey, I eagerly anticipate the continued progress and the invaluable contributions it will make to safeguarding our coastal communities and ecosystems for generations to come,” said Senator Bob Hensgens.

“As the sponsor of these bills, I am deeply invested in the comprehensive impact these pieces of legislation will have on Louisiana’s energy and environmental landscape. Together, these bills are designed to promote regulatory efficiency, streamlining processes to foster innovation and investment in critical energy projects while maintaining environmental standards to promote greater stewardship of our coastal resources. By strategically navigating the delicate balance between economic prosperity and environmental conservation, we will continue guiding responsible resource extraction practices to safeguard our natural heritage. These bills reflect our commitment to fostering a robust energy sector while ensuring the long-term sustainability and resilience of Louisiana’s ecosystems for future generations,” said Representative Bret Geymann.

“We are excited to be part of an effort aimed at improving coordination and efficiencies on energy and natural resource matters in Louisiana,” said the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinators Office.

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