EXECUTIVE ORDER MJF 00-44

EXECUTIVE ORDER MJF 00-44

State Water Policy Advisory Task Force


WHEREAS, the objectives of Louisiana: Vision 2020, the state of Louisiana's master plan for economic development adopted by the Louisiana Legislature in 1999, recognize that the economic development and well-being of the state is inextricably connected to the use of freshwater from the state of Louisiana's surface and aquifer sources;

WHEREAS, even though one of the primary natural resources of the state of Louisiana is its bounty of surface and ground water which sustains both the environmental ecosystems of the state and the freshwater needs of domestic, public, agricultural, industrial, commercial, farming, aquacultural, and recreational users throughout the state, some freshwater users have begun to experience freshwater shortages and/or supply depletion, saltwater intrusion, and/or ground subsidence;

WHEREAS, as freshwater use demands continue to rise as a result of new uses and increasing demands from existing users, consideration must be given to factors such as the sufficiency of water availability for the future needs of existing users and/or the environment, the protection and conservation of the freshwater resources of the state, and/or the viable options for optimum or more efficient use of the state's freshwater resources;

WHEREAS, recent events, including saltwater marsh browning or die-back resulting from a lack of freshwater which caused seventeen thousand (17,000) acres of salt marsh to be converted into vegetation-less mud flats, have generated statewide interest and public concern about the protection and conservation of the state of Louisiana's freshwater resources, particularly, about the type and/or quantity of water use, and whether uses are appropriate and/or do not optimize our vital freshwater resources; and

WHEREAS, the interests of the citizens of the state of Louisiana will be best served by the creation of an advisory task force charged with the duty of compiling available regulations, policies and laws pertaining to freshwater resource management, development, maintenance, protection and/or conservation in the states, districts, and territories of the United States (hereafter "freshwater policies"); evaluating the suitability of adapting such freshwater policies to the state of Louisiana in light of the state's general and economic policy goals and objectives; recommending a ground and surface water policy plan to the governor which is suitable to the needs, goals, and objectives of the state of Louisiana; and advising the governor regarding all issues relevant to the state of Louisiana's freshwater resources, particularly its use, development, protection, conservation, and/or management;

NOW THEREFORE, I, M.J. "MIKE" FOSTER, JR., Governor of the state of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and the laws of the state of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:

SECTION 1: The State Water Policy Advisory Task Force (hereafter "Task Force") is established within the executive department, Office of the Governor.

SECTION 2: The duties of the Task Force shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

A. Evaluating the policy considerations, goals, and/or objectives relevant to the development, maintenance, and/or implementation of a comprehensive policy for the state of Louisiana on surface and ground water management, particularly addressing the enhancement and/or development of agriculture, industry, commerce, public and domestic consumption, recreation, and fish and wildlife; the maintenance of a balanced environmental ecosystem; and the achievement of the objectives of Louisiana: Vision 2020, the state of Louisiana's master plan for economic development;

B. Evaluating the state of Louisiana's current and projected future groundwater resources, current and projected future demands on those resources, and potential alternatives for meeting current and projected future groundwater use needs;

C Evaluating the maximum sustainable yields in each of the aquifers underlying the state of Louisiana;

D. Compiling the regulations, policies and laws pertaining to the development, maintenance, protection, use, management, and/or conservation of freshwater in the other states, districts and/or territories of the United States; evaluating the suitability of its application to the state of Louisiana considering pertinent policy considerations, goals, and/or objectives referred to in subsection 2(A) of this Order; and outlining a potential freshwater development, management, and conservation policy plan for the state of Louisiana (hereafter "water policy");

E. paring a comprehensive emergency water policy contingency plan for the state of Louisiana addressing freshwater quality and/or quantity problems which may occur as a result of drought, hurricanes, and/or other emergency or crisis events;

F Analyzing whether existing freshwater programs and/or projects may be used and/or adapted to achieve greater, or more enhanced, environmentally beneficial effects and, if so the additional projected costs of such uses and/or adaptions;

G. Analyzing the potential for utilizing technologies such as satellite remote sensing and computerized modeling to improve and/or optimize management of the state of Louisiana's freshwater resources;

H. Recommending and outlining the long and short term water policy actions that may be implemented and/or instituted in the state of Louisiana, including potential legislation addressing groundwater management for the 2001 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature; and

I. Recommending a time-line for completely developing and implementing the state of Louisiana's water policy, and setting forth the resources necessary to fully implement the water policy.

SECTION 3: By February 15, 2001, the Task Force shall submit to the governor a final report on the issues set forth in Section 2 of this Order.

SECTION 4: The Task Force shall be composed of twenty-six (26) members who, unless otherwise specified, shall be appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the governor. The membership of the Task Force shall be selected as follows:

A. The governor, or the governor's designee;

B. The executive assistant of the Office of Coastal Activities, Office of the Governor, or the executive assistant's designee;

C. The secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality, or the secretary's designee;

D. The secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development, or the secretary's designee;

E. The secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, or the secretary's designee;

F. The secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, or the secretary's designee;

G. The secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, or the secretary's designee;

H. The commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, or the commissioner's designee;

I. The president of the Louisiana Senate, or the president's designee;

J. The speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, or the speaker's designee;

K. The chair of the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality, or the chair's designee;

L. The chair of the House Committee on Environment, or the chair's designee;

M. The chair of the Governor's Task Force on Environmental Protection and Preservation;

N. The chancellor of the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, or the chancellor's designee;

O. The district chief, United States Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, or the district chief's designee;

P. The district engineer of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, or the district engineer's designee;

Q. The director of the Louisiana Geological Survey, or the director's designee;

R. The executive director of the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, or the executive director's designee;

S. The president of the Louisiana Farm Bureau, or the president's designee;

T. The president of the Louisiana Chemical Association, or the president's designee;

U. The executive director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, or the executive director's designee;

V. One (1) representative of the Louisiana Rural Water Association;

W. Two (2) representatives of ground water conservation districts;

X. One (1) representative of the Louisiana Rice Grower's Association; and

Y. One (1) representative of suppliers of water to municipalities operating within the state of Louisiana.

SECTION 5: The governor shall appoint the chair and vice-chair of the Task Force. All other officers, if any, shall be elected by the membership of the Task Force.

SECTION 6: The Task Force shall meet at regularly scheduled intervals and at the call of the chair.

SECTION 7: Task Force members shall not receive additional compensation or a per diem from the Office of the Governor for serving on the Task Force. However, state officers and/or employees may seek reimbursement of travel expenses, in accordance with PPM 49, from their employing and/or elected department, agency, and/or office.

SECTION 8: Facilities for the meetings of the Task Force shall be arranged by the Office of the Governor. Support staff for the Task Force shall be provided by the departments and/or agencies of the executive branch as requested by the chair of the Task Force.

SECTION 9: All departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and offices of the state, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Task Force in implementing the provisions of this Order.

SECTION 10: This Order is effective upon signature and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the governor, or terminated by operation of law.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the city of Baton Rouge, on this 6h day of November, 2000.

M.J. "Mike" Foster, Jr.
Governor

ATTEST BY
THE GOVERNOR
Fox McKeithen
Secretary of State