Lake Peigneur Bill Going to Senate
Would Restrict Expansion of
Natural Gas Storage Caverns Beneath Lake Peigneur
STEVE WILSON / Daily Iberian 7may2008
It all started in 1980. . .
And now AGL Resources. . .
A bill that would restrict expansion of natural gas storage caverns beneath Lake Peigneur will make it to the Louisiana Senate floor.
By unanimous vote Tuesday, the Senate Environmental Quality Committee passed Senate Bill 754, which “provides for certain permits concerning ground water.” Authored by District 22 Sen. Troy Hebert, D-Jeanerette, the bill is expected to go before the full Senate as early as next week. Atlanta-based AGL Resources owns and operates the natural gas facility at Jefferson Island.
“This bill stops the caverns from being built because it attacks the issue from a water resource standpoint,” Hebert said. “The bill prohibits a company from using over 3 million gallons or more of water a day that would be injected into the ground and never returned to the aquifer. AGL Resources proposes using over 5 million gallons a day. This bill was structured this way so that it did not interfere with farming irrigation or municipal water suppliers.”
Hebert views the passage of the bill as a collaborative effort.
“This was a major hurdle because this type of bill has never even made it out of the committee process,” Hebert said.
“I will work hard to pass it on the Senate floor so that it can go to the House for debate. The people of the Lake Peigneur area should be commended for not giving up the fight.”
Keith Poston, corporate communications manager for AGL Resources, used “terrible” as a descriptive phrase for the bill.
“It singles out AGL Resources in the way it was written, as well as takes out any due process and input from the public,” Poston said. “It circumvents the regulatory structure the way it was designed.”
Nara Crowley, vice-president of Save Lake Peigneur, a community group which opposes the expansion of AGL Resources’ facility at Lake Peigneur, was pleased with the vote.
“We’re going to lobby to win,” Crowley said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Gas Restriction Set:
Bill Would Limit Storage Cavern Usage at Lake Peigneur
MIKE HASTEN / The Advertiser 9may2008
BATON ROUGE — After failing to get approval of bills directly aimed at blocking development of additional natural gas storage caverns under Lake Peigneur along the Iberia-Vermilion parish border, Sen. Troy Hebert has succeeded in a least limiting the project by taking a different route.
The Senate on Thursday voted 30-0 in favor of Hebert's Senate Bill 754, which restricts how much water can be with drawn from the Chicot Aquifer on a daily basis in Iberia Parish and injected into the ground.
AGL Industries, which currently has 9.4 billion cubic feet of compressed natural gas stored in two storage caverns leached from the Jefferson Island salt dome, has filed applications to leach two more caverns.
SB754 directs the state commissioner of conservation to "not authorize or issue any permit which allows the use or withdrawal of three million gallons or more of ground water per day from the Chicot aquifer that shall be injected into the subsurface in a parish whose population is more than seventy thousand and less than seventy five thousand."
"This stops them from doing it," Hebert said of his bill's impact on AGL's plans. "Now it's in the House."
In a hearing on another Hebert bill that was killed earlier in the session, former University of Louisiana professor Steven Langlinais said the company's plan to draw 5.18 million gallons of water a day from the Chicot Aquifer to leach out the two caverns would aversely affect the water table and could draw salt water into the coastal areas of the aquifer.
Commissioner of Conservation James Welsh said it would probably take three to four years to leach out caverns the size that AGL has planned.