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      RS 30:6.1     


§6.1.  Declaration of emergency

A.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this Title, upon receipt of evidence that there is an incident occurring or threatening to occur imminently at an oilfield site or other facility, structure, or pipeline under the commissioner's jurisdiction pursuant to R.S. 30:1 et seq., which is of such magnitude as to require immediate action to prevent substantial or irreparable damage to the environment or a serious threat to life or safety based on recognized criteria, standards or industry practices, the commissioner may declare in writing that an emergency exists.

B.  Upon declaration of an emergency, the commissioner shall notify the operator of record.  Notification shall be made by telephone at the emergency number on file in the commissioner's office, telegraph, facsimile, or personal appearance.  If the operator cannot be contacted for notification within twenty-four hours or if the operator of record fails to begin abatement procedures within twenty-four hours after notice by the commissioner, the commissioner shall begin the emergency procedures provided for in this Section.  Refusal on the part of the operator to begin abatement procedures after notification by the commissioner shall constitute a failure or refusal to comply with the provisions of this Title and rules, regulations, and orders issued thereunder.

C.  When an emergency situation is declared, the commissioner is authorized to undertake the containment and abatement of the pollution source and pollutants and may retain personnel or contract for these purposes with persons who shall operate under his direction.  All contracts let by the commissioner to respond to a declared emergency shall be exempt from the provisions of Chapter 10 of Title 38 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950 and the Louisiana Procurement Code. However, the commissioner may employ an informal bidding procedure by which bids are solicited from at least three bidders.  He may order the operator of record or owner to undertake the containment, abatement, or cleanup of such pollution source and pollutants.  Failure to comply with his order shall be a violation of this Title and shall be punishable as provided in this Title.  The commissioner shall submit an annual report to the House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment and Senate Committee on Natural Resources listing the number and type of emergencies declared within the previous year.

D.(1)  The commissioner may issue permits, variances, or other orders as necessary to respond to the emergency, which shall be effective immediately upon issuance, and any request for hearing, appeal, or request for review shall not suspend the implementation of the action ordered.  The term of any such emergency action shall be limited to the time necessary to address the emergency conditions.

(2)  An action for injunctive relief against any order issued pursuant to the declaration of an emergency shall be brought in the Nineteenth Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge.  Exhaustion of administrative remedies is not a prerequisite to such action.

(3)  The party bringing an action under this Subsection has the burden of demonstrating, by clear and convincing evidence, that granting injunctive relief shall not endanger or cause damage to the public health or the environment.  If such injunctive relief is granted, the party bringing such an action shall provide an adequate bond.

E.  In addition, when an emergency is declared, emergency response personnel or contractors shall be authorized to undertake necessary actions to contain and abate the pollution source and pollutants.

F.  In responding to an emergency, the commissioner may utilize any funds allowable under federal law or state law or any funds which have been appropriated for such purposes, including but not limited to the Oilfield Site Restoration Fund pursuant to R.S. 30:80 et seq.  Recovery of costs expended shall be in accordance with the statutes, rules, and regulations applicable to the source of funds.

Acts 1999, No. 618, §1; Acts 2001, No. 182, §1, eff. May 31, 2001; Acts 2008, No. 580, §2.

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