RS 30:1109     

§1109.  Cessation of storage operations; liability release

A.(1)  Ten years, or any other time frame established by rule, after cessation of injection into a storage facility, the commissioner shall issue a certificate of completion of injection operations, upon a showing by the storage operator that the reservoir is reasonably expected to retain mechanical integrity and the carbon dioxide will reasonably remain emplaced, at which time ownership to the remaining project including the stored carbon dioxide transfers to the state.  Upon the issuance of the certificate of completion of injection operations, the storage operator, all generators of any injected carbon dioxide, all owners of carbon dioxide stored in the storage facility, and all owners otherwise having any interest in the storage facility, shall be released from any and all duties or obligations under this Chapter and any and all liability associated with or related to that storage facility which arises after the issuance of the certificate of completion of injection operations.

(2)  Provided the provisions pertaining to site-specific trust accounts are not applicable, such release from liability will not apply to the owner or last operator of record of a storage facility if the Carbon Dioxide Geologic Storage Trust Fund has been depleted of funds such that it contains inadequate funds to address or remediate any duty, obligation, or liability that may arise after issuance of the certificate of completion of injection operations.

(3)  Such release from liability will not apply to the owner or operator of a storage facility, carbon dioxide transmission pipeline, or the generator of the carbon dioxide being handled by either the facility or pipeline if it is demonstrated that any such owner, operator, or generator intentionally and knowingly concealed or intentionally and knowingly misrepresented material facts related to the mechanical integrity of the storage facility or the chemical composition of any injected carbon dioxide.  In addition, upon the issuance of the certificate of completion of injection operations, any performance bonds posted by the operator shall be released and continued monitoring of the site, including remediation of any well leakage, shall become the principal responsibility of the Carbon Dioxide Geologic Storage Trust Fund.

(4)  It is the intent of this Section that the state shall not assume or have any liability by the mere act of assuming ownership of a storage facility after issuance of a certificate of completion of injection operations.

B.(1)  In any civil liability action against the owner or operator of a storage facility, carbon dioxide transmission pipeline, or the generator of the carbon dioxide being handled by either the facility or pipeline, the maximum amount recoverable as compensatory damages for noneconomic loss shall not exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars per occurrence, except where the damages for noneconomic loss suffered by the plaintiff were for wrongful death; permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb or loss of a bodily organ system; or permanent physical or mental functional injury that permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for himself or herself and perform life sustaining activities.  In such cases, the maximum amount recoverable as compensatory damages for noneconomic loss shall not exceed five hundred thousand dollars per occurrence.

(2)  If Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is finally determined by a court of law to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, the maximum amount recoverable as damages for noneconomic loss shall thereafter not exceed one million dollars per occurrence.  This provision shall not supersede any contractual agreement with respect to liability between a plaintiff and an owner or operator of a storage facility, a carbon dioxide transmission pipeline, or the generator of the carbon dioxide.

C.  Nothing in this Chapter shall establish or create any liability or responsibility on the part of the commissioner or the state to pay any costs associated with site restoration from any source other than the funds or trusts created by this Chapter, nor shall the commissioner or the state of Louisiana have any liability or responsibility to make any payments for costs associated with site restoration if the trusts created herein are insufficient to do so.

D.  The commissioner or his agents, on proper identification, may enter the land of another for purposes of site assessment or restoration.

E.  The commissioner and his agents are not liable for any damages arising from an act or omission if the act or omission is part of a good faith effort to carry out the purpose of this Chapter.

F.  No party contracting with the Department of Natural Resources, office of conservation, or the commissioner under the provisions of this Chapter shall be deemed to be a public employee or an employee otherwise subject to the provisions of Parts I through IV of Chapter 15 of Title 42 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950.

Acts 2009, No. 517, §2.