GreenARMY to push bill limiting aquifer use by industrial companies

Among the environmental advocacy group GreenARMY’s wishlist this legislative session is a new bill to limit industrial use of a local aquifer. It’s also hoping to see a law passed requiring soil testing of playgrounds and schools for pollutants when requested.

Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, a GreenARMY environmental activist, says the organization is drafting bills to be sponsored by local legislators in the upcoming session. Honoré declined to name the legislators who have agreed to introduce the bills.

Many of the bills proposed are tailored to restrict activity in a specific location in the state, such as the group’s “open burning” bill, which would forbid open burning of munitions and pyrotechnic devices in Colfax, where citizens have pushed against an area company’s open burning policies for years. Another bill would limit industrial companies use of the Southern Hills Aquifer in Baton Rouge. Instead, Honoré says companies should extract water from the Mississippi River.

Other bills being proposed:

  • Drinking water bill: Legislation ensuring that iron and lead issues are identified in drinking water systems, to improve corrosion control training and corrosion control plans and mandating public notices be issued when an area is at risk of having unsafe drinking water.
  • Drinking water resolution: A bill requiring a state legislative audit on how to assist low-income communities upgrade water infrastructure.
  • Southern Hills Aquifer resolution: A resolution requesting the commissioner of conservation to consider declaring the aquifer an area of groundwater concern.
  • School and playground testing bill: A bill requiring soil testing of parks, playgrounds and schools for lead contamination and other pollutants when requested by local government, and to authorize citizens to test public playgrounds and school soil.
  • Abandoned oil fields bill: A bill to allow landowners to enforce plug-and-abandonment of unused oil and gas wells.
  • Department of Environmental Quality employment: A bill to increase DEQ’s staff.

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