Gov. Jindal, don’t sign away our legal claims against BP: Robert R.M. Verchick | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – The Loyola environmental law professor contends that Senate Bill 469 — which would retroactively scuttle the local levee authority’s suit against oil and gas companies for wetlands damage — could have an unintended effect. It “could immunize the oil and gas industry from paying for economic losses caused by any oil spill … in the state’s coastal zone.” The Times-Picayune editorial board was persuaded by the argument, which was the basis of its latest editorial objection to the legislation. See the official memorandum detailing Verchick’s concerns about unintended consequences.
UPDATE: 21 area leges side with Big Oil | Gambit – Political columnist Clancy DuBos lists the Southeast Louisiana legislators who supported the bill to kill the levee authority’s suit. “Worst of all,” DuBos writes, “the area lawmakers who voted for the bill more than made the difference in its passage in both the Senate and the House.”
Louisiana’s regulation and inspection of oil and gas wells, including orphaned wells, is inadequate, Legislative Auditor finds | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune — “The report recommended that the Legislature increase oil and gas production fees levied by the state and identify other sources of funds to cover the cost of plugging thousands of orphaned wells in the state.”
Small island slammed in oil spill may be saved | FOX 8 News – Plaquemines Parish is working with the state to save Cat Island, a bird sanctuary that was inundated by the 2010 BP oil spill.
Auditor: ReNEW Schools broke state law governing teachers’ pensions | The Lens – Teachers at some schools were assigned to the state pension system under Reed Elementary, where they didn’t work.
How the liberal arts empowered New Orleans high schoolers to make their voices heard | Hechinger Report – Alexios Moore, Academic Director of Bard Early College in New Orleans, writes: “Students today have every right to be deeply suspicious of American educational institutions.”
For Lessons About Social Class, a Field Trip Takes Students Right Back Home | The New York Times – Pre-kindergarten students in New York City are learning about socioeconomics by visiting one another’s homes.
NOPD commander moves to Sheriff’s Office, and other government news | The Advocate – “New Orleans police Cmdr. Edwin Hosli, a longtime friend of Superintendent Ronal Serpas who withstood major controversy in 2011 when it came to light that he ran an outfit employing off-duty police officers to review traffic-camera tickets for the city, is heading on down the road.”
NOPD Commander Frank Young was promoted to replace Hosli and will now lead the Specialized Investigations unit.
Execution drug likely to be kept secret in Louisiana | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – On Friday the Senate approved a secrecy bill that is “is opposed by defense lawyers, journalists and government transparency groups.”
Government & Politics
Landrieu, legislative allies run 11th-hour effort for new taxing district along river | The Lens – If approved, the city wouldn’t share with other government agencies the taxes from development on certain pieces of property.
House OKs budget with little discussion | The Advocate
“It’s not perfect. I think it’s the best one we’ve had in the past three years,” said state Rep. Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro, who sponsored House Bill 1.
Political Horizons: When regular folks visit the Legislature | The New Orleans Advocate
Democratic state Rep. Ted James, whose north Baton Rouge district seems to have more payday loan stores than working stoplights, says he has spent a lot of time recently consoling bitter constituents who felt that, if nothing else, legislators would have paid more attention to their sheer numbers.
“They believe their voices matter. But when they come here and see the reality, well, I hate that this was their first exposure to the process,” he said.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to tour Detroit | Detroit Free Press – Landrieu talked about Detroit’s serious blight problem: “We took down 10,000 properties in three [years]. That sounds great, we got a national award for it, but a lady still living next door to a blighted property doesn’t think we did anything.”
Last week Landrieu wrote an optimistic opinion piece encouraging investment in Detroit.
Landmark society names nine threats to N.O. preservation | The New Orleans Advocate – Three mansions on St. Charles and two sites in Holy Cross make the list.