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Jeff Davis Parish to get millions from settlement of lawsuits

Last Modified: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 8:34 PM

By Doris Maricle / American Press

JENNINGS — The settlement of lawsuits filed more than a decade ago in Baton Rouge means an estimated $2.15 million will soon become available to Jefferson Davis Parish taxing bodies, said Tax Assessor Donald Kratzer.

At issue in the lawsuits was how to determine a value on the oil and gas pipelines that cross the state, Kratzer said Tuesday in a news release.

Three pipeline companies — ANR Pipeline Co., Southern Natural Gas Co. and Tennessee Gas Co. — filed a series of suits against the Louisiana Tax Commission and assessors, challenging the way their property was valued and claiming they were being overcharged, he said.

The tax bills were paid under protest and held in escrow until settlement. The suits have held up the distribution of the money since 1994.

Texas-based Kinder Morgan, which recently acquired the three pipeline companies, sought the settlement, Kratzer said. “After the purchase of the pipelines by Kinder Morgan the case took a turn in the right direction,” Kratzer said.

“Kinder Morgan expressed a strong desire to operate as a good corporate citizen and to bring these lawsuits to a mutually acceptable conclusion.”

He said Kinder Morgan “made the process of settling this so efficient that it has been truly remarkable that all the lengthy legal battles we endured were simply handled within days, not years. They deserve to be commended for their commitment and efforts.”

Sheriff Ivy Woods, who is also the parish’s tax collector, can now distribute the money to the proper taxing bodies, Kratzer said.

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