Thursday, 17 May 2012 13:09

Louisiana Politics: Vitter, Salazar, Scalise and New Orleans School Board

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salazar1What's happening in the world of politics, news releases and e-notices?

The latest from Senator David Vitter,  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Orleans Parish schools, Steve Scalise and more


Last night, a solution to the job-crushing legacy lawsuit issue was finally reached.
I really congratulate Bobby for coming around and supporting this strong solution. It will help clean up real contamination and shut down the trial lawyer bonanza, which has been hurting job creation in our energy sector. And it happened for one reason – legislators did their job, faced a tough issue and voted the right way in the House, and were about to in the Senate.
If you haven't been following the debate, the term "legacy lawsuits" is used in reference to lawsuits where a landowner claims old oil and gas operations contaminated their property. These lawsuits are often filed against every operator who has ever worked that property. It's a bonanza for trial lawyers.
Dan Juneau, President of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and Don Briggs, President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association also deserve credit for working on this solution.
This is great news for Louisiana's economy and sends a great message outside Louisiana that we are an honest place to do business.

Orleans Parish School Board
The Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) announces the appointment of Stan Smith as the OPSB interim superintendent. Smith’s term becomes effective upon the official retirement of Superintendent Darryl Kilbert on June 30, 2012.

As interim superintendent, Smith will be responsible for operations of the district, including general administration of all instructional and business operations.

“The most important thing is that the OPSB works together to continue the implementation of the reforms developed under Superintendent Kilbert that have led to OPSB's recent academic and financial success,” said Smith. “As interim superintendent of the OPSB this will be my top priority.”

Prior to his appointment as OPSB interim superintendent, Smith served as the Board’s chief financial officer since 2006. His responsibilities included all aspects of the Board’s operations excepting academics. While with OPSB, Stan has restructured the financial team that has been instrumental in rebuilding the financial strength of the Board.

“As the Orleans Parish School Board’s chief financial officer, Stan Smith has shown immense dedication to the public education system of Orleans Parish. He possesses a comprehensive understanding of OPSB duties and policies and will be able to knowledgably fulfill his new responsibilities as the interim OPSB superintendent,” said OPSB President Thomas Robichaux.

A native Texan, Smith has a BBA in Accounting from Texas Tech University. He has served on the boards of several nonprofits in New Orleans and on the executive board and as region vice president of Financial Executives International.
Salazar, Beaudreau Announce Final Details for Upcoming Central Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale
More Than 38 Million Acres to be Offered for Exploration and Development

Salazar and Oil

NEW ORLEANS— Today the Obama Administration provided final details for the Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale announced by President Obama in January 2012, as part of his administration’s ongoing focus on expanding safe and responsible production of our domestic energy sources. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau today announced the Final Notice of Sale for a June 20, 2012 lease sale that will make available all unleased areas in the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area, offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, including 7,276 blocks on about 38.6 million acres.
The sale will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. BOEM estimates the sale could result in the production of over 1 billion barrels of oil and more than 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
“As part of the Obama administration’s all of the above energy strategy, we continue to make millions of acres of federal waters and public lands available for safe and responsible domestic energy exploration and development,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “Holding this lease sale is one of the many administrative steps we are taking, at the President’s direction, to increase U.S. production, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and incentivize early production on leases that industry holds.”
“The Gulf of Mexico is the crown jewel of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, and home to a number of world-class producing basins – including many in deepwater areas that are becoming increasingly accessible with new technology,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “There have been a number of significant discoveries in the past two years alone, and this sale will continue making significant and promising areas available while encouraging diligent development and providing the taxpayer a fair return.”
The blocks are located from three to about 230 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from nine to more than 11,115 feet (three to 3,400 meters) in the Central Gulf of Mexico, a region that BOEM estimates contains close to 31 billion barrels of oil and 134 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that are currently undiscovered and technically recoverable. The Final Notice of Sale package describes all terms and conditions for Central Gulf Lease Sale 216-222. These include a range of incentives that encourage prompt development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers, as described in a recent report by the Department of the Interior on the status of Oil and Gas Lease Utilization. These measures include escalating rental rates and tiered durational terms with relatively short base periods followed by additional time under the same lease if the operator drills a well during the initial period.
BOEM has also increased the minimum bid in deepwater to $100 per acre, up from only $37.50, to ensure that taxpayers receive fair market value for offshore resources and to provide leaseholders with additional impetus to invest in leases that they are more likely to develop. Analysis of the last 15 years of lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico showed that deepwater leases that received high bids of less than $100 per acre, adjusted for energy prices at time of each sale, experienced virtually no exploration and development drilling.
The terms of sale also reflect a series of conditions to ensure an appropriate balance of orderly resource development with protection of the human, marine and coastal environments. These include stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species, and avoid potential conflicts associated with oil and gas development in the region. BOEM completed a supplemental environmental impact statement relating to this sale, which considers the latest available information for the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Today, BOEM is also issuing a Record of Decision following that analysis.
For this sale, BOEM has also adopted a stipulation to notify bidders that the terms stated in a February 20, 2012 agreement between Mexico and the United States regarding the exploration and development of oil and natural gas reservoirs along the United States’ and Mexico’s maritime boundary may apply to some of the blocks offered in this sale, should the agreement enter into force.
The Final Notice of Sale information package is available at: Copies can also be requested from the Gulf of Mexico Region’s Public Information Office at 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70123, or at 800-200-GULF (4853).
The Final Notice of Sale and the Notice of Availability of a Record of Decision on a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Lease Sale 216/222 are available today in the Federal Register at:

Lawsuit Abuse

The Louisiana Senate Committee on Judiciary A is considering HB 477 sponsored by Rep. Neil Abramson (D-New Orleans) and will vote on the bill soon. It will help stop abuse of Louisiana’s asbestos litigation system by simply requiring disclosure if multiple claims are being filed. Please contact the committee members in support of HB 477 to stop asbestos fraud and abuse!

One of the major problems with our current system is that asbestos plaintiffs are not required to disclose to the court if bankruptcy trust claims have or will be made. This lack of transparency between bankruptcy trusts and courts allows personal injury lawyers to recover twice for the same injury, enriching themselves and their clients at the expense of those asbestos victims truly deserving of compensation. HB 477 seeks to fix that by requiring that plaintiffs disclose basic information before their trial so that judges and juries can make informed decisions.

Please take action now, before voting begins. Senate Judiciary A Committee members are listed below.
• Louisiana’s current system for handling asbestos and silica litigation lacks transparency and allows claimants to “double dip”—or recover twice for the same injury.
• This abuse unnecessarily depletes the amount of resources available to future claimants who are truly deserving of compensation.
• To address this problem, HB 477 simply requires any plaintiff claiming injuries related to asbestos or silica exposure to disclose all existing or potential claims against a bankruptcy trust at least 90 days before trial.


Senator Ben Nevers (Chairman)- [email protected] (985) 732-6863
Senator Dan Claitor (Vice-Chairman)- [email protected] (225) 765-0206
Senator Conrad Appel- [email protected] (866) 946-3133
Senator Jack Donahue- [email protected] (985) 727-7949
Senator Daniel "Danny" Martiny- [email protected] (504) 834-7676
Senator Edwin R. Murray- [email protected] (504) 945-0042
Senator Rick Ward, III- [email protected] (225) 246-8838

The 2012 Offshore Energy Tour  And Steve Scalise

For the fourth consecutive year, I am proud to promote safe offshore domestic energy production by bringing Members of Congress to Louisiana to tour a deepwater rig in the Gulf of Mexico. While on the tour, Members will come to a better understanding of the offshore energy industry and the role it plays for both Louisiana and our nation. I’m honored to have the second ranking Republican in the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, joining me on the 2012 Offshore Energy Tour along with Congressman Gene Green (TX), Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS), and Congressman John Sullivan (OK).
The 2012 Offshore Energy Tour will allow Members from around the country to discuss energy policy with local job creators in the oil and gas industry, and to see first-hand what goes into safely producing American energy in the deep water of the Outer Continental Shelf. This tour will provide the Members with a better understanding of the skills and technology involved in offshore energy production and how it is critical to America's energy security. Increasing domestic energy exploration and production is a proven way to create millions more American jobs while lowering gas prices at the pump and reducing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

Louisiana families know that we cannot achieve energy security by killing energy jobs and handcuffing our families to Middle Eastern oil. I look forward to my colleagues joining me offshore, and will continue fighting to improve our economy, our energy security, and lower gas prices at the pump by increasing energy production here at home.

It is an honor to represent you in Congress and continue fighting on your behalf. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my office or visit


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Steve Scalise
Member of Congress


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