Article IX: Natural Resources
Section 1. The natural resources of the state, including air and water, and the healthful, scenic, historic, and esthetic quality of the environment shall be protected, conserved, and replenished insofar as possible and consistent with the health, safety, and welfare of the people. The legislature shall enact laws to implement this policy.
Section 2.(A) Public Policy; Regulation. Natural gas is declared to be affected with a public interest. Notwithstanding any provision of this constitution relative to the powers and duties of the Public Service Commission, the legislature shall provide by law for regulation of natural gas by the regulatory authority it designates. It may designate the Public Service Commission as the regulatory authority.
(B) Pipelines. No intrastate natural gas pipeline or gas gathering line shall be connected with an interstate natural gas pipeline, and no interstate natural gas pipeline shall be connected with an intrastate natural gas pipeline, without a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued as provided by law after application for the connection and hearing thereon.
Section 3. The legislature shall neither alienate nor authorize the alienation of the bed of a navigable water body, except for purposes of reclamation by the riparian owner to recover land lost through erosion. This Section shall not prevent the leasing of state lands or water bottoms for mineral or other purposes. Except as provided in this Section, the bed of a navigable water body may be reclaimed only for public use.
Section 4.(A) Reservation of Mineral Rights. The mineral rights on property sold by the state shall be reserved, except when the owner or person having the right to redeem buys or redeems property sold or adjudicated to the state for taxes. The mineral rights on land, contiguous to and abutting navigable waterbottoms reclaimed by the state through the implementation and construction of coastal restoration projects shall be reserved, except when the state and the landowner having the right to reclaim or recover the land have agreed to the disposition of mineral rights, in accordance with the conditions and procedures provided by law.
(B) Prescription. Lands and mineral interests of the state, of a school board, or of a levee district shall not be lost by prescription except as authorized in Paragraph C.
(C) Exception. The legislature by act may direct the appropriate parish authority in Terrebonne Parish to transfer title and ownership as to certain lands near Bayou Dularge in Section 16 of Township 20 South, Range 16 East, which due to an error in the original governmental survey completed around 1838 until recently were thought to be within Section 9, to those persons who have possessed the property under good faith and just title for a minimum of ten years or to those who have acquired from them, reserving the mineral rights as just and sole compensation for the transfer. Consistent with the provisions of Article XIII, Section 3, the notice requirements of Article III, Section 13 are satisfied for an act passed as a companion to the act setting forth this Paragraph.
Acts 1992, No. 1142, 1, eff. Nov. 5, 1992; Acts 1995, No. 1332, 1, approved Oct. 21, 1995, eff. Nov. 23, 1995.
Section 5. No conveyance, lease, royalty agreement, or unitization agreement involving minerals or mineral rights owned by the state shall be confected without prior public notice or public bidding as shall be provided by law.
Section 6. Revenues and royalties obtained from minerals located beyond the seaward boundary of the state belong to the state.
Section 7.(A) Members; Terms. The control and supervision of the wildlife of the state, including all aquatic life, is vested in the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. The commission shall be in the executive branch and shall consist of seven members appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate. Six members shall serve overlapping terms of six years, and one member shall serve a term concurrent with that of the governor. Three members shall be electors of the coastal parishes and representatives of the commercial fishing and fur industries, and four shall be electors from the state at large other than representatives of the commercial fishing and fur industries, as provided by law. No member who has served six years or more shall be eligible for reappointment.
(B) Duties; Compensation. The functions, duties, and responsibilities of the commission, and the compensation of its members, shall be provided by law.
Section 8.(A) Forestry; Acreage Taxes. Forestry shall be practiced in the state, and the legislature may enact laws therefor. It may authorize parish governing authorities to levy acreage taxes, not to exceed two cents per acre, for the purposes of this Section. The provisions of this constitution exempting homesteads from taxation shall apply to forestry acreage taxes.
(B) Forestry Commission. The practice of forestry is placed under the Louisiana Forestry Commission. The commission shall be in the executive branch and shall consist of seven members. The head of the Department of Forestry at Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College and the director of the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission shall serve ex officio as members. The governor shall appoint the remaining five members, subject to confirmation by the Senate, for overlapping terms of five years, as provided by law.
(C) State Forester. The commission shall appoint a state forester. He shall be a graduate of an accredited school of forestry and have at least four years of forestry experience, as provided by law.
Section 9.(A)(1) Creation. The First Use Tax Trust Fund is hereby created and established in the state treasury as a special and irrevocable trust fund for the deposit of the proceeds, and interest derived therefrom, of the first use tax imposed by law in 1978 or thereafter and any other tax imposed by law which would have the effect of imposing any new or alternative tax on uses of those resources subject to the tax levied by the first use tax. The treasurer shall pay into the state general fund, from the total proceeds of the first use tax, as imposed by law in 1978 or thereafter such amounts as are necessary to fully reimburse the state general fund for tax credits granted in 1978 against that tax pursuant to Part I-B of Chapter 6 of Title 47 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes. The remainder of such tax proceeds shall be credited to the following accounts within the First Use Tax Trust Fund and shall not be deposited into the Bond Security and Redemption Fund or the general fund.
(2) Distribution; debt accounts. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds, and interest derived therefrom, shall be deposited into the following accounts:
(a) Initial Proceeds Account. From this portion of the initial proceeds of the tax, the sum of five hundred million dollars shall be maintained in an account within the First Use Tax Trust Fund in the state treasury to be known as the "Initial Proceeds Account". Monies in the Initial Proceeds Account shall be invested, and the investment earnings shall accrue to that account. Except for investment and except as provided in Paragraph (C), monies on deposit in the Initial Proceeds Account shall not be used. If the balance of the Initial Proceeds Account at any time is less than five hundred million dollars, then an amount from the next proceeds of the tax shall be credited to the Initial Proceeds Account until there is a balance therein of five hundred million dollars.
(b) Debt Retirement and Redemption Account. All proceeds of this portion of the tax over and above the amount required to be maintained in the Initial Proceeds Account shall be maintained in an account in the First Use Tax Trust Fund to be known as the "Debt Retirement and Redemption Account". Monies in the Debt Retirement and Redemption Account shall be invested and the investment earnings shall accrue to that account. Except for investment, monies on deposit in the Debt Retirement and Redemption Account shall be used only to purchase, in advance of maturity, on the open market any outstanding obligations of the state, or to call, pay or redeem in advance of maturity any outstanding bonds, notes or other evidence of state debt, or both. No purchase or redemption of state debt shall occur with the monies unless the purchase or redemption results in interest savings to the state. The methods used for retiring such future debt shall be determined by the state treasurer, with concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the State Bond Commission acting in open session.
(3) Distribution; conservation account. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds, and interest derived therefrom, shall be deposited into the following account:
(a) Barrier Islands Conservation Account. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds of the tax shall be maintained in an account in the First Use Tax Trust Fund to be known as the "Barrier Islands Conservation Account". Monies in the Barrier Islands Conservation Account shall be invested and the investment earnings shall accrue to that account. Except for investment, monies on deposit in the Barrier Islands Conservation Account shall be used exclusively to fund capital improvement projects designed to conserve, preserve and maintain the barrier islands, reefs, and shores of the coastline of Louisiana. Only such capital improvements contained in the comprehensive capital budget adopted by the legislature each year shall be funded.
(B) Investments. The state treasurer shall invest all monies on deposit in the accounts established under Paragraph (A) in accordance with the law governing the investment of idle funds of the state.
(C) Use of Investment Earnings of Initial Proceeds Account. If in the judgment of the state treasurer the best interest of the state would be served, and only if the Debt Retirement and Redemption Account is depleted or otherwise not funded, the treasurer may, with concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the State Bond Commission, acting in open session, expend the investment earnings which have accrued in excess of five hundred million dollars in the Initial Proceeds Account for any purpose for which the Debt Retirement and Redemption Account may be used.
(D) The funds deposited in the First Use Tax Trust Fund shall be considered escrowed and shall not be used for the purposes enumerated herein until the proceeds of the first use tax are determined to be available for such uses by the treasurer with concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the State Bond Commission, acting in open session. During the time these funds are escrowed such funds may be ordered remitted upon final action by a court of last resort, with the interest earned thereon, as provided by law, if the tax is held to be invalid as to any taxpayer who has paid the tax.
Added by Acts 1978, No. 797, 1, approved Nov. 7, 1978, eff. Dec. 12, 1978.
NOTE: R. S. 47:1301, et seq. imposing a "first use tax" declared unconstitutional, see Maryland v. Louisiana, 1981, 101 S.Ct. 2114, 451 U.S. 725, 68 L.Ed.2d 576.
Section 10.(A) The Louisiana Investment Fund for Enhancement is established as a special fund in the state treasury. All revenues received by the state from the production of oil and gas within the state shall be deposited in the state treasury and credited to the Bond Security and Redemption Fund in accordance with the provisions of Article VII, Section 9, and shall be remitted to the political subdivisions of the state pursuant to Article VII, Section 4. In each fiscal year out of the funds remaining in the Bond Security and Redemption Fund, after a sufficient amount has been allocated for the payment of obligations secured by the full faith and credit of the state which become due and payable within the fiscal year, the treasurer shall credit an amount equal to the windfall revenues from oil and gas price deregulation to the Louisiana Investment Fund for Enhancement.
(B) As used in this Section, "windfall revenues from oil and gas price deregulation" means those revenues received by the state in a fiscal year which are in excess of the base for that particular fiscal year, as calculated in accordance with this Paragraph. The base for fiscal year 1981-1982 shall be the estimated level of collections for oil, gas, and other severance taxes and from oil and gas production royalties in fiscal year 1980-1981, which for the purposes hereof shall be one billion eighty-five million dollars, calculated as follows:
(1) Seven hundred sixty million dollars from oil, gas, and other severance taxes; and
(2) Three hundred twenty-five million dollars from oil and gas royalty payments, excluding bonuses and rentals.
In each subsequent fiscal year, the state treasurer shall calculate the windfall revenues from oil and gas price deregulation for that fiscal year by determining a new base as follows: The base for the previous fiscal year shall be multiplied by the most recent annual change in the consumer price index and then the product shall be added to the base for the previous fiscal year.
(C) The state treasurer shall invest the monies in the Louisiana Investment Fund for Enhancement in the manner provided by law. Interest from the investment shall be credited to the general fund.
(D) Monies credited to the Louisiana Investment Fund for Enhancement may be expended only pursuant to an appropriation enacted by the vote of two-thirds of the elected members of each house of the legislature.
(E) The legislature shall have the authority to enact any legislation with regard to the Louisiana Investment Fund for Enhancement not inconsistent with the provisions of this Section.
Added by Acts 1983, No. 730, 1, approved Oct. 22, 1983, eff. Nov. 23, 1983.