RS 56:700.13     

§700.13.  Establishment of the board

A.  There is hereby established within the office of the secretary of the Department of Natural Resources the Oyster Lease Damage Evaluation Board, hereinafter known as the board.

B.  The board shall include five members consisting of one member nominated by the Louisiana Oyster Dealers and Growers Association, one member nominated by the Louisiana Oyster Task Force, two members nominated jointly by the Louisiana Independent Oil and Gas Association, Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association and the Louisiana Landowners Association, and one member, selected by the other four members of the board, who is a practicing administrative law judge.

C.  The board shall develop a list of qualified biologists to provide biological test data in determining the quality, condition, and value of oyster beds and grounds.  The secretary, in conjunction with the board, shall develop a list of qualifications for these biologists.  When an owner of an oil and gas activity is required under the provisions of R.S. 56:700.12(4) to perform a biological survey, he shall choose a biologist to conduct the survey from the list of qualified biologists supplied by the board.  The secretary, in conjunction with the board, shall adopt rules providing for selection of a qualified biologist.  Unless a written objection is filed with the board by either party, if a qualified biologist was previously engaged to conduct a biological survey for the mineral activity subject to the requested arbitration, that same biologist may be used for the biological surveys.

D.  The board members shall evaluate the information regarding damage to the beds and make the final determination in awarding damages to claimants.  The secretary, upon receiving this determination of damages, may reject the damage award and send the matter back to the board.  The board may then either revise the damage award or, by a two-thirds vote, affirm the original damage determination.  If the board fails to either revise the damage award or affirm the original damage determination, the arbitration process provided in this Part shall conclude without a final determination of damages.

E.  The determinations of damages by the board shall be based on the values shown in the biological survey and shall reflect true and actual damages.

F.  Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S. 56:424, representatives or assigns of the owner of the oil and gas activity may remove, as a sample, oysters from an oyster lease on state water bottoms in order to make determinations in matters before the Oyster Lease Damage Evaluation Board.  In order to take such samples, the representatives or assigns of the owner of the oil and gas activity shall first submit written notice to the leaseholder.  If the leaseholder has not granted permission within fifteen days after the written request for permission was submitted, the representatives or assigns of the owner of the oil and gas activity shall notify the leaseholder of the date and time that the lease will be surveyed.  The leaseholder may accompany the biologist during the survey or may authorize another person to accompany the biologist during the survey.

Acts 1995, No. 1304, §1, eff. June 29, 1995; Acts 1997, No. 1115, §1; Acts 2004, No. 282, §1, eff. June 15, 2004; Acts 2005, No. 438, §1, eff. July 11, 2005; Acts 2009, No. 363, §1.