RS 38:3097.4     

§3097.4. Water Resources Commission; membership; powers and responsibilities

            A. The Water Resources Commission is hereby created and shall be composed of the following members:

            (1) The governor or his designee.

            (2) The commissioner of conservation or his designee.

            (3) The commissioner of agriculture and forestry or his designee.

            (4) The secretary of the Department of Economic Development or his designee.

            (5) The secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality or his designee.

            (6) The secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health or his designee.

            (7) The secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries or his designee.

            (8) The secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development or his designee.

            (9) The chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board or his designee.

            (10) The executive director of the Sabine River Authority or his designee.

            (11) The executive director of the Louisiana Public Service Commission or his designee.

            (12) One member appointed by the governor, who is a geologist or an engineer with expertise in ground water resource management.

            (13) One member appointed by the governor from a list of four nominations submitted jointly by the Louisiana Chemical Association, the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, and the Louisiana Pulp & Paper Association.

            (14) One member appointed by the governor from a list of three names nominated by the Louisiana Farm Bureau.

            (15) One member appointed by the governor from a list of three nominations submitted by the Police Jury Association of Louisiana.

            (16) One member appointed by the governor from a list of three nominations submitted by the Louisiana Municipal Association.

            (17) One member appointed by the governor from a list of three nominations submitted by the Sparta Groundwater Conservation District Board of Commissioners.

            (18) One member appointed by the governor from a list of three nominations submitted by the board of commissioners of the Capital Area Groundwater Conservation District.

            (19) One member appointed by the governor who resides or works in the geographical area of the state underlain by the Chicot aquifer.

            (20) One member appointed by the governor from a list of three nominations submitted by the Louisiana Landowners Association.

            (21) One member appointed by the governor from a list of three names submitted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, and the League of Women Voters.

            (22) One member appointed by the governor from a list of three nominations submitted by the Ports Association of Louisiana.

            (23) One member appointed by the governor from a list of three nominations submitted by the Louisiana River Pilots' Association.

            (24) One member, who is a lawyer licensed to practice in Louisiana with not less than five consecutive years in the practice of law in Louisiana and who has legal expertise in water law, appointed by the governor from a list of four names submitted by the chancellor of the Louisiana State University Law Center, the dean of the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, the chancellor of the Southern University Law Center, and the dean of the Tulane University Law School.

            (25) Two members, one appointed by the chairman of the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee, and one appointed by the chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee who does not represent commercial, industrial or agricultural interests but who represents residential consumers.

            (26)(a) The chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment, or his designee, shall serve as an ex-officio non-voting member.

            (b) The chairman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, or his designee, shall serve as an ex-officio non-voting member.

            (c) The chairmen shall not be counted as part of the total membership of the commission for purposes of determining the number of members necessary to constitute a quorum but, if present, they shall be counted as members for purposes of establishing a quorum for the particular meeting.

            B. The appointed members of the commission shall serve four-year terms except for the initial term, in which the governor shall designate the terms of office so that three members shall serve a one-year term, three members shall serve a two-year term, and four members shall serve a three-year term. No appointed member shall serve more than two consecutive terms. In case of a vacancy, the governor shall appoint a replacement to fill the unexpired term. Appointed members shall not be compensated for their services, except the commissioner may promulgate rules and regulations to provide for travel expenses. Appointed members shall be considered as such, and not elected, for the purposes of R.S. 42:1102 et seq.

            C. The governor or his designee shall serve as chairman of the commission. The commission shall meet at least twice per calendar year, but may meet more often as necessary.

            D. The commission shall have the authority to do the following:

            (1) Review and approve or reject any orders of the commissioner placing restrictions on wells upon petition by the owner of the affected well or proposed well or any owner of a well in the same aquifer which may be adversely impacted by the well in question. In reviewing such decisions the commissioner shall not serve as a voting member of the commission. The order of the commissioner shall be rejected only if the commission concludes, after a review of the record, that a reasonable factual basis does not exist for the commissioner's decision. Rejected orders shall be returned to the commissioner for reconsideration. An order that has been returned to the commissioner twice shall be considered a final decision and eligible for judicial review pursuant to R.S. 38:3097.5.

            (2) Review rules and regulations proposed by the commissioner pursuant to the proper administration and enforcement of this Chapter.

            (3) Continue the development, in cooperation with the commissioner, of a statewide ground water resource management program that shall include but not be limited to evaluation of the state's ground water resources including current and projected demands; development of a water use conservation program; study of alternatives to ground water use, such as surface water to include treatment and transmission system, and reclaimed water; incentives for conservation; use of alternative technologies; and education and conservation programs. The plan should stress conservation as the primary mechanism for the protection of the state's ground water resources. The commission shall also hold public hearings and consult with local governmental entities in the development of this program.

            (4) Evaluate the state's surface water resources including current and projected demands, inventory the state's surface water supplies, identify technical research and previously developed information on surface water, identify potential future deficit areas, study alternatives to surface water use including treatment, transmission systems, and reclamation, and investigate incentives for conservation and the use of alternative technologies, including public education and conservation programs.

            (5) Review the contingency plan developed by the commissioner to respond to a ground water emergency.

            (6) Direct the commissioner to promulgate rules and regulations for the appointment or designation of up to five regional bodies based on the general location of major aquifer systems and water sources of the state and composed of local stakeholders who are representative of current users. Such bodies may gather data and provide local input to the commission and the commissioner.

            (7) At their discretion, attend all public meetings called by the commissioner pursuant to his power and duties in this Chapter.

            Acts 2003, No. 49, §2, eff. July 1, 2003; Acts 2006, No. 30, §1; Acts 2012, No. 471, §2; Acts 2012, No. 601, §1, eff. June 7, 2012; Acts 2016, No. 430, §4.