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      RS 30:86     

  

§86. Oilfield Site Restoration Fund

            A.(1) There is hereby established a fund in the custody of the state treasurer to be known as the Oilfield Site Restoration Fund, hereafter referred to as the "fund", into which the state treasurer shall, each fiscal year, deposit the revenues received from the collection of the monies enumerated in Subsection D of this Section, after those revenues have been deposited in the Bond Security and Redemption Fund.

            (2) Out of the funds remaining in the Bond Security and Redemption Fund, after a sufficient amount is allocated from that fund to pay all the obligations secured by the full faith and credit of the state that become due and payable within each fiscal year, the treasurer shall pay into the Oilfield Site Restoration Fund an amount equal to the revenues generated from collection of the fees provided for in Subsection D of this Section. The treasurer shall also transfer into the Oilfield Site Restoration Fund the amount of thirty million dollars in federal funding from the first federal funds received by the state for which oilfield site restoration or plugging orphan wells is an allowable use, as determined by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. Such funds shall constitute a special custodial trust fund which shall be administered by the secretary, who shall make disbursements from the fund solely in accordance with the purposes and uses authorized by this Part.

            B. The funds received shall be placed in the special trust fund in the custody of the state treasurer to be used only in accordance with this Part and shall not be placed in the general fund. The funds provided to the commission pursuant to this Section shall at all times be and remain the property of the commission. The funds shall be used only for the purposes set forth in this Part and for no other governmental purposes. Except for the pledge of the revenues provided in R.S. 30:83.1, it is the intent of the legislature that this fund and its increments shall remain intact and inviolate. Any interest or earnings of the fund shall be credited only to the fund.

            C. The treasurer of the state of Louisiana shall certify to the secretary of the Department of Revenue the date on which the balance in the fund equals or exceeds fourteen million dollars. The oilfield site restoration fees on oil and gas provided for in R.S. 30:87 shall not be collected or required to be paid on or after the first day of the second month following the certification, except that the secretary of the Department of Revenue shall resume collecting the fees on receipt of a certification from the treasurer that, based on the expenditures or commitments to expend monies, the fund has fallen below ten million dollars. The secretary of the Department of Revenue shall continue collecting the fees until collections are again suspended in the manner provided by this Section. The sums in the site-specific trust accounts within the fund, the sums collected from financial security instruments required by rules and regulations adopted by the assistant secretary pursuant to R.S. 30:4(R) and 4.3, sums deposited pursuant to Paragraph (D)(9) of this Section, any sums deposited from federal appropriations, or any federal grant program established by the United States Congress for the purpose of restoring orphan oilfield sites, and sums generated from the issuance of bonds pursuant to R.S. 30:83.1 shall not be counted to determine the balance of the fund for the purposes of this Subsection.

            D. The following monies shall be placed into the Oilfield Site Restoration Fund:

            (1) Those fees and penalties collected pursuant to R.S. 30:87.

            (2) Private contributions.

            (3) Interest earned on the funds deposited in the fund.

            (4) Civil penalties or costs recovered from responsible parties for oilfield site restoration pursuant to R.S. 30:93 and 94.

            (5) Any grants, donations, and sums allocated from any source, public or private, for the purposes of this Part.

            (6) Site-specific trust accounts; however, the monies of such accounts shall not be used for any oilfield site other than that specified for each respective account.

NOTE: Paragraph (D)(7) eff. until July 1, 2022. See Acts 2021, No. 114.

            (7) Fifty percent of any annual assessment paid by an operator who chooses not to plug a well classified as inactive with the remainder being deposited into the Oil and Gas Regulatory Fund.

NOTE: Paragraph (D)(7) as amended by Acts 2021, No. 114, eff. July 1, 2022.

            (7) Fifty percent of any annual assessment paid by an operator who chooses not to plug a well classified as inactive with the remainder being deposited into the Oil and Gas Regulatory Dedicated Fund Account.

            (8) Any sums collected from financial security instruments required by rules and regulations adopted by the assistant secretary pursuant to R.S. 30:4(R) and 4.3. However, the monies collected from each financial security instrument tied to a specific well or wells shall not be used for any oilfield sites other than those for which the financial security was provided.

            (9) The sum of thirty million dollars from the first federal funds received by the state for which oilfield site restoration or plugging orphan wells is an allowable use, as determined by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.

            (10) Monies from federal appropriations or any federal grant program established by the United States Congress for the purpose of restoring orphan oilfield sites.

            E. Except as otherwise provided in this Section, the monies in the fund may be disbursed and expended pursuant to the authority and direction of the secretary or assistant secretary for the following purposes and uses:

            (1) Any oilfield site assessment or restoration conducted by the Department of Natural Resources pursuant to this Part, and the payment of the principal, interest, and legal fees, credit enhancement fees, trustee fees, and other related costs of issuance or ongoing expenses in connection with issuance of bonds or other debt obligations on behalf of the commission, at the direction of the secretary, pursuant to R.S. 30:83.1 for the purpose of financing the costs of such oilfield site assessments and restorations.

            (2) Upon approval of the commission, the administration of this Part by the department in an amount not to exceed nine hundred fifty thousand dollars each fiscal year.

            (3) The payment of fees and costs associated with the administration of the fund, site-specific accounts, and any contract with a private legal entity pursuant to this Section.

            (4) Any costs and fees associated with the recovery of site restoration costs and penalties pursuant to R.S. 30:93 and 94.

            (5) Any costs associated with response to any emergency as provided in R.S. 30:6.1 unless directed by the commission not to expend monies in the fund pursuant to Subsection G of this Section. The department shall seek to recover from the responsible party any monies disbursed and spent from the fund for any emergency as defined in R.S. 30:6.1 within six months of the initial expenditure for such emergency.

            (6) Upon approval of the commission, up to five hundred thousand dollars per fiscal year for the office of conservation to act alone, or in conjunction with the voluntarily participating parties, for the assessment and restoration of commercial oilfield waste disposal facilities used for the storage, treatment, or disposal of non-hazardous oilfield waste for a fee or other consideration, which were abandoned, leaving no financially responsible owner, operator, or bonding company, in accordance with the plan of closure as required in the permit, or if the permit did not provide a plan of closure, a plan approved by the commission; however, a responsible person shall not be released from his duty or liability, if any, imposed by this Section.

            (7) Except for the costs of administration of this Part by the Department of Natural Resources not exceeding five percent of the federal funds appropriated or granted, the monies deposited into the fund pursuant to Paragraph (D)(9) of this Section, any other monies deposited from federal appropriations, or from federal grant programs authorized by the United States Congress for the purpose of restoring orphan oilfield sites, shall be used only for the purposes of assessing and restoring orphan oilfield sites. Notwithstanding any other requirements in this Part, such monies may be expended by the secretary through a contract entered into under any competitive process authorized by Title 38 or 39 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950. The contract may be awarded to any qualified party regardless as to whether or not such party has been approved to be on the list of contractors acceptable to conduct site assessment and restoration by the commission.

            F. In addition to the disbursements and expenditures authorized by Subsection E of this Section, not less than one million dollars or twenty percent of the amount appropriated to the fund, whichever is less, annually shall be used to plug orphaned wells drilled to a depth less than three thousand feet in the Shreveport District and the Monroe District of the office of conservation beginning Fiscal Year 2016-2017 and through the end of Fiscal Year 2021-2022. However, these monies are subject to being disbursed and expended for any costs associated with response to any emergency as provided in R.S. 30:6.1.

            G. Upon declaration of an emergency as defined in R.S. 30:6.1, the assistant secretary shall notify the commission of the declared emergency. A meeting of the commission shall be held within ninety days after the emergency declaration. At such meeting, the commission may direct that no monies in the fund be disbursed or spent for response activity related to the emergency declaration.

            Acts 1993, No. 404, §2; Acts 1995, No. 297, §§1, 2, eff. July 1, 1995; Acts 1997, No. 994, §1; Acts 1999, No. 618, §1; Acts 1999, No. 1097, §1, eff. July 9, 1999; Acts 2004, No. 768, §1, eff. July 1, 2004; Acts 2008, No. 384, §1; Acts 2016, No. 582, §1, eff. June 17, 2016; Acts 2016, No. 666, §1, eff. June 17, 2016; Acts 2018, No. 105, §; Acts 2019, No. 193, §1; Acts 2021, No. 114, §18, eff. July 1, 2022; Acts 2021, No. 298, §1, eff. June 15, 2021.



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