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      RS 30:74     


§74.  Abandoned oilfield waste sites; notification; clean up

A.(1)  Whenever any responsible person, owner, or operator of any abandoned waste site obtains information that indicates that oilfield waste is spilling, discharging, or otherwise escaping into, or on any land or water without appropriate authorization or permit, or is being treated, stored, handled, or disposed of in a manner contrary to applicable regulations of the commissioner, such person shall notify the office of conservation in accordance with regulations to be adopted.

(2)  Upon receipt of the information required to be provided in Paragraph A(1) of this Section, the commissioner may order any responsible owner, operator, or person to take samples, monitor, or take action at the abandoned waste site to ascertain the nature and extent of any waste or discharge, or hazard.  The commissioner, upon failure or refusal by the responsible person, operator, or owner to comply with the orders, may undertake such activities and investigate the abandoned waste site, take samples to be analyzed, and may expend monies available for these purposes.

(3)(a)  Prior to any sheriff's sale or public auction of any property related to the operation of oil and gas wells, the person seeking such sale shall notify the commissioner of such sale not less than thirty days prior to such sale.  Such sale shall not occur unless the commissioner consents thereto in writing, and the sale shall include the wellbore unless specifically excluded from the sale.  In the event the wellbore is not specifically excluded from the sale as provided herein, the sheriff or person seeking such a sale shall cause to be included in the notice of the sale and in the sale instrument a statement or notice that the purchaser shall be required to file the appropriate documents with the office of conservation to become operator of record of the subject well pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 30:204.

(b)  The commissioner may, if he deems it appropriate to insure the proper plugging and abandonment of the wells and closure of the associated oilfield pits, retain a first lien and privilege on such property, which lien and privilege shall follow such property into the hands of third persons whether such persons are in good or bad faith.  The commissioner shall record a notice of such lien with the clerk of court in the parish in which the property is located and in which the sale is to occur.  The lien and privilege may be enforced against any person in possession of the property in the same manner as a lien provided under the Louisiana Oil Well Lien Act.

(4)  Failure to notify the commissioner as provided in Paragraph (3) of this Subsection shall render the person seeking such a sale and the purchaser liable, in solido, to the office of conservation for the fair market value of the property at the time of such seizure and sale.

B.  Any failure or refusal by an owner or operator or responsible person to undertake such action as ordered by the commissioner to take samples, monitor, contain, or clean up an abandoned oilfield waste site shall be a violation of this Chapter, and the commission, in order to prevent damage to public health, the environment, or an oil or gas strata, may immediately declare the site abandoned, notwithstanding the provisions of R.S. 30:75, and commence appropriate proceedings under this Chapter, including the recovery of penalties, revocation of any permit, closure of the site, or any combination thereof.

C.  Nothing in this Part shall be construed to limit or revoke any power or authority of the secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality to protect the waters of the state or to control and clean up inactive or abandoned hazardous waste sites.

Acts 1986, No. 892, §1, eff. July 10, 1986; Acts 1990, No. 702, §1; Acts 1992, No. 984, §9; Acts 1997, No. 993, §1.

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