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      RS 30:2225     


§2225.  Abandoned hazardous waste sites

A.  A site may be declared to be an abandoned hazardous waste site by the secretary upon a finding that the site:

(1)  Has received for storage, treatment, or disposal or now contains or emits wastes that are identified, classified, or defined to be hazardous wastes in accordance with the regulations adopted under the provisions of this Subtitle.

(2)  Was not closed in accordance with the requirements of this Subtitle and the regulations adopted hereunder.

(3)  Constitutes or may constitute a danger or potential danger to the public health and the environment.

(4)  Has no financially responsible owner or operator who can be located, or such person has failed or refused to undertake actions ordered by the secretary pursuant to R.S. 30:2204(A) or (B).

B.  For the purposes of this Chapter and Chapter 9, "financially responsible person" or "responsible person" shall mean that the person has insurance, bonds, or assets sufficient to take action as necessary or as ordered by the secretary to protect the health and welfare of the citizens or to protect the environment.

C.  Prior to declaring a site to be an abandoned hazardous waste site, the secretary shall seek to notify every person who may own an interest therein that the site is to be declared abandoned, shall publish on three consecutive occasions in the official journal of the parish that the site is to be declared abandoned, and, if requested by any owner within ten days after notice, shall hold a hearing prior to declaring the site abandoned.

D.(1)  Upon declaration that a site is an abandoned hazardous waste site, the secretary shall notify the attorney general of such declaration and shall request the attorney general to take such specific legal actions as deemed necessary, including the acquisition of emergency easements and rights of way, conducting negotiations for property acquisition, and exercise of eminent domain as provided by R.S. 30:2036 to secure such site or compel cleanup or containment consistent with regulations and guidelines established by the secretary.

(2)  If the secretary requests the attorney general to take legal actions in accordance with the provisions of this Subsection and if the attorney general declines to take such action or does not respond to the secretary's request for representation within sixty days of such request and agree to take such legal actions, an attorney from the department may, with the concurrence of the attorney general, take legal actions as deemed necessary in accordance with the provisions of this Subsection.

E.(1)  When a site has been declared an abandoned hazardous waste site, the secretary is authorized to undertake the physical control, containment and cleanup, or closure of the abandoned hazardous waste site and may retain personnel for these purposes who shall operate under his direction.

(2)  In all cases in which the secretary proposes to treat, store, or dispose of hazardous wastes at the abandoned hazardous waste site, he shall prepare a closure plan setting forth how the site will be closed.  The secretary shall provide an opportunity for the public to submit comments about the plan.  The secretary shall provide adequate notice to the public of any public hearings on the closure plan by placing a notice in the general circulation newspaper of the parish in which the hearing is to be held.  If the secretary determines that immediate action is required to secure the site or dispose of any waste in order to protect the health or safety of persons affected by the site or its contents or to protect the environment, he may take such action prior to submission of the plan and may subsequently submit a plan detailing emergency actions taken and those actions which he will be taking in the future.

(3)  The secretary shall have authority to implement the closure plan and to take all actions including erecting fences, signs, gates, levees, and monitoring devices as are reasonably necessary to secure the site and prevent unauthorized or inadvertent entry.

F.(1)  The secretary, by recording the declaration of abandonment in the mortgage records of the parish where the property is located, may create a lien against property declared to be abandoned to the extent of the expenditures by the state necessary to remedy the problem or to the extent of the appraised value after said expenditures, whichever is less.  The secretary may provide in the declaration that the lien is limited to certain portions of property declared to be abandoned and may provide that a lien shall not be recorded against property of a person that the department finds was in no way responsible for the spill or accident causing the damage requiring the expenditure of money from the fund.  The filing of a sworn statement of the amount expended perfects the lien retroactively to the date of the recordation of the declaration.

(2)  Subsequent to a declaration of abandonment, a person whose property has been declared to be abandoned and against which a lien has been created thereby may apply to the secretary or file an action in the district court to require that the clerk erase the lien from the records if the secretary or the court finds that the spill was in no way caused by any action or negligence on the part of the person who is the owner of the property subject to the lien or may file an action to have the debt reduced to the appraised value of the property.

Acts 1984, No. 674, §1; Acts 1995, No. 1160, §1; Acts 1999, No. 303, §1, eff. June 14, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 348, §1, eff. June 16, 1999.

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