Last Modified: Friday, April 05, 2013 7:42 PM
A local lawmaker is pushing legislation that would require every refinery that receives crude oil to pay a quarter of a cent for every barrel, instead of the limiting the fee to refineries that get the oil from marine vessels.
House Bill 636 by Rep. Mike Danahay, D-Sulphur, would change the Oil Spill Contingency Fund’s current rate of 2 cents for every barrel of crude oil transported by a marine vessel to a refinery. The fund was set up following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1986 to respond to oil spills within the state.
Danahay said the Phillips 66 refinery in Westlake and Citgo refinery in Lake Charles are paying the bulk of the charges because they use marine vessels to transport crude oil. He said the measure would provide a fairer assessment for refineries that process crude oil.
“We feel like it will make the fund stronger with every refinery contributing at a lower rate,” Danahay said.
Danahay said the fee should be changed because oil spills are not contained to marine vessels.
“Over a period of years, you see oil spills can happen anywhere from the wellhead to the off-loading refinery,” he said.
Danahay said the measure also gets rid of the fund’s $7 million cap. If the fund reaches that amount, refineries are not charged the fee unless the fund dips below $5 million.
Danahay has another measure that would allow the 10 fire protection districts in Calcasieu Parish to raise their monthly per diem from $60 to as high as $100.
H.B. 287 would allow each fire protection district board to approve a resolution raising the per diem. The Police Jury would have to ratify the resolutions.
“It’s permissive,” Danahay said of the bill. “It’s not a slam dunk. I’m not giving them a raise.”
Danahay said he filed the measure so that every fire protection district could call for a raise instead of one district at a time. He said the parish water districts requested the increased per diem two years ago after lawmakers approved a bill by Rep. John Guinn, R-Jennings, allowing one board to approve the higher per diem.