Polluted waterways, drinking water safety among top concerns for Louisiana activists

Green Army drafting environmental bills for upcoming legislative session
Updated: Feb. 11, 2019 at 5:51 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Green Army Lieutenant General Russell Honoré spoke at Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday about bills the environmental organization is pushing for the upcoming 2019 legislative session.

Some of the bills include addressing the problem of abandoned oil fields in the state and limiting water withdrawal from the Mississippi River. Honoré said he is not releasing the names of the bills’ current sponsors, but did acknowledge the Green Army is working with lawmakers.

During his speech at press club, Honoré took out copy of a new interactive map that shows areas of pollution where it is unsafe to swim or fish. He said abandoned oil fields are contributing to the pollution in local waterways.

“It’s an embarrassment that the shadow of the great state of Louisiana, and our capital, is that our water is polluted. I love Louisiana, but the reason we’re here today, with the people, our front line, and the concerned citizens is to create bills and laws,” Honoré said.

The Green Army is drafting 11 bills, and is looking for bill sponsors. Look below to see the complete list:

  • OPEN BURNING: A bill forbidding open burning of munitions and pyrotechnic devices. 
  • AIR BILL: A bill requiring fence line air quality monitoring for certain sources of air pollution as follows: (1) “major” sources of air pollution under the Clean Air Act, (2) all landfills where a local government formally requests air quality monitoring.
  • DRINKING WATER BILL: A bill to ensure that iron and lead problems are identified in drinking water systems, to improve corrosion control training and corrosion control plans, ensure the public receives notice when at risk of unsafe drinking water, and other measures.
  • DRINKING WATER RESOLUTION: A bill to require a Louisiana Legislative Audit on how to assist poor communities to get water infrastructure upgrade and repair funding. 
  • SOUTHERN HILLS AQUIFER BILL: A bill to limit withdrawals by industry along the Mississippi River
  • SOUTHERN HILLS AQUIFER RESOLUTION: A resolution directing the Commissioner of Conservation to consider whether to declare the Southern Hills Aquifer area an area of groundwater concern 
  • SCHOOL AND PLAYGROUND TESTING BILL: A bill requiring the soil testing of parks, playgrounds, and schools for lead contamination and other pollutants when requested by local government, and to authorize citizens to test public playgrounds parks, and school soil.
  • ABANDONED OILFIELDS BILL: A bill to address the problem of abandoned oilfields by reforms of financial security, ability of landowners to force plug-and-abandonment of unused oil and gas wells.
  • CHLOROPRENE BILL: A bill to force DEQ to apply to EPA’s .2 chloroprene standard to the Denka plant.
  • DEQ FUNDING: A bill to increase DEQ’s staff to better address threats to public health

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