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      RS 56:423     

  

§423. Property rights, larceny or other public offense concerning; leases heritable and transferable; adjudication of claims

            A. A lessee shall enjoy the exclusive use of the water bottoms leased and of all oysters and cultch grown or placed thereon, subject to the restrictions and regulations of this Subpart and Part II of Chapter 2 of Title 49 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950.

            (1) This exclusive use of water bottoms is subordinate to the rights or responsibilities of the state, any political subdivision of the state, the United States, or any agency or agent thereof, to take any action in furtherance of integrated coastal protection as defined in R.S. 49:214.2.

            (2) This exclusive use of water bottoms for any oyster lease initially applied for after July 1, 2016, or any renewal or judicial partition of such lease is also subordinate to the rights of any person:

            (a) To engage in any activity authorized by a coastal use permit, determination, or coastal use authorization pursuant to R.S. 49:214.30 or a drilling permit, for which the coastal use authorization or drilling permit application was issued prior to the date the application for the oyster lease was issued. This Subparagraph applies only in the following areas:

            (i) The area from the centerline of the pipeline or area from the outside of the well, platform, shell pad, or facility as designated by the coastal use permit, determination, or other coastal use authorization pursuant to R.S. 49:214.30 or drilling permit, or

            (ii) If no such area delineated in Item (i) of this Subparagraph is designated, then this Item applies in the following areas:

            (aa) For a pipeline, within seventy-five feet from the centerline of the pipe.

            (bb) For a well, platform, shell pad, or facility, within two hundred fifty feet from the outside of the well, platform, shell pad, or facility.

            (b) To operate, maintain, repair, replace, rehabilitate, or remove any pipeline, well, platform, shell pad, or facility on or impacting an oyster lease in which the pipeline, well, platform, shell pad, or facility was placed or constructed before September 20, 1980, or was placed or constructed prior to the date the oyster lease was issued. This Subparagraph applies only in the following areas:

            (i) For a pipeline, within seventy-five feet from the centerline of the pipe.

            (ii) For a well, platform, shell pad, or facility, within two hundred fifty feet from the outside of the well, platform, shell pad, or facility.

            (c) To cross an oyster lease to access any activity, pipeline, well, platform, shell pad, or facility to which Subparagraph (2)(a) or (2)(b) of this Subsection applies. This Subparagraph applies only to a single access channel across each oyster lease per activity, pipeline, well, platform, shell pad, or facility, determined as follows:

            (i) For any activity, pipeline, well, platform, shell pad, or facility, including the removal of any pipeline, well, platform, shell pad, or facility, to which Subparagraph (2)(a) of this Subsection applies, if an access channel across each oyster lease is identified in the coastal use authorization or permit, it shall be the sole access channel for purposes of this Subparagraph. If more than one access channel across each oyster lease is identified, the holder of the authorization or permit shall designate a single access channel to the department in writing identifying the centerline of the access channel using the North American Datum 1983 state plane coordinates; and when the holder does so and the department consents to the designated access channel in writing, it shall be the sole access channel for purposes of this Item.

            (ii) For any activity, pipeline, well, platform, shell pad, or facility to which Subparagraph (2)(b) of this Subsection applies, the holder of the authorization or permit shall designate a single access channel across each oyster lease to the department in writing identifying its centerline using the North American Datum 1983 state plane coordinates; and when the holder does so and the department consents to the designated access channel in writing, it shall be the sole access channel for purposes of this Item.

            (iii) This Subparagraph applies only within fifty feet from the centerline of the access channel across each oyster lease. In addition, if a spoil area was previously identified in an authorization or permit for an access channel designated pursuant to this Item, this Item shall also apply to the same spoil area; however, such spoil area shall be limited to eighty feet in width adjacent to one side of the access channel.

            (iv) The department shall be immune from any action or liability arising out of or related to its consent or agreement to any access channel or spoil area designated pursuant to this Subparagraph.

            (v) The department shall consult with the lessee under any oyster lease located within a proposed access channel, before consenting or agreeing to any access channel pursuant to this Subparagraph.

            (3) The provisions of Paragraph (2) of this Subsection shall not apply to any oyster lease initially applied for before July 1, 2016, or any renewal or judicial partition of such lease, or to any oyster lease issued pursuant to Section 2(B)(1) of Acts 2008, No. 808, as amended by Acts 2016, No. 595 of the 2016 Regular Session or any renewal of such lease.

            B.(1) A lessee of oyster beds or grounds who has obtained, recorded, and marked his lease in compliance with the law shall have the right to maintain an action for damages against any person, partnership, corporation, or other entity causing wrongful or negligent injury or damage to the beds or grounds under lease to such lessee.

            (a) No lessee shall have any right to maintain any action against the state, any political subdivision of the state, the United States, or any agency, agent, contractor, or employee thereof for any claim arising from any project, plan, act, or activity in relation to integrated coastal protection, except as provided in R.S. 56:427.1.

            (b) No lessee shall have any right to maintain any action against any person arising from any activity to which R.S. 56:423(A)(2) applies provided that the person has not violated any coastal use permit, determination, or other coastal use authorization pursuant to R.S. 49:214.30, or drilling permit, or any Louisiana or federal law or regulation applicable to the activity.

            (2) No person shall trawl or seine or use skimmer nets over any area of privately leased bedding grounds or oyster propagating place in the year immediately following the seeding of such area which is staked off, marked, or posted as required by law or regulation. Any person who knowingly trawls or uses skimmer nets upon such marked areas shall be liable for damages caused to the lessee. A violation of this Paragraph shall be a class three violation.

            (3) Any action for damages under this Section shall be brought within one year of the occurrence of the wrongful or negligent act, or within one year of the date of discovery of such act, whichever last occurs.

            C. In case of infringement of the interest in the taker or possessor, the taker or possessor may, in his own name, maintain his proper action against the wrongdoer. In case of larceny or other public offense concerning such oysters while in the hands of a lawful taker or possessor, or upon bedding grounds held by a lawful lessee, the ownership thereof shall be averred in the lessee, taker, possessor, when by law it is necessary to aver ownership.

            D. No claim to any water bottoms suitable for oyster culture by any person shall be valid until adjudicated upon by a court of competent jurisdiction in a suit between the state and the claimant. The claimant by virtue hereof may institute suit against the state in any court of competent jurisdiction for the legal determination of the validity of his claims, without the necessity of a special legislative act authorizing suit. The effect of the judgment is limited to an adjudication of the question of title.

            E. All leases, all applications of deceased persons for leases, and all property rights or interests acquired pursuant to such leases, made in conformity with the provisions of this Subpart are heritable and transferable. They are subject to mortgage, pledge or hypothecation, and to seizure and sale for debt, as any other property rights and credits in this state. This provision also applies to all buildings, betterments, and improvements thereon. No such inheritance or transfer is valid or of any force or effect whatsoever unless evidenced by an authentic act, judgment, or proper judicial deed registered in the office of the department in a book provided for that purpose. The department shall keep proper indexes, so that all original leases and all subsequent changes and transfers can be easily and accurately ascertained.

            Acts 1981, No. 925, §1; Acts 1990, No. 858, §1; Acts 1990, No. 889, §1, eff. July 25, 1990; Acts 1991, No. 788, §1; Acts 1992, No. 845, §1; Acts 1995, No. 234, §1; Acts 2006, No. 425, §1, eff. June 15, 2006; Acts 2016, No. 595, §1, eff. July 1, 2016.

{{NOTE: SEE ACTS 1992, NO. 845, §2.}}



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