Category: Energy Politics

Our Hearts are Heavy, But Questions to Government & Developers Remain

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KTBS supplied photo
KTBS file photo

by Marion Marks

This morning KTBS posted a follow up on the flooding in residential areas. The tragedy becomes even more apparent to the public that this broken record of flooding was all not necessary had the governing entities recognized the flood plain should never have been so recklessly developed.

Bossier engineer Butch Ford will certainly explain these facts soon, as he did at another recent meeting.  Yes, the developers made a boatload of money taking the low-lying areas, with flat lots along a picturesque view, and pouring slabs and selling homes when the water was not covering the area. But the knowledgable governing entities have known for years that this area was prone to flood.

Directly from Bossier warning!
Directly from Bossier warning!

On the Bossier City website, this file and maps seem to clearly indicate the parish knowledge and warning of the flood plain and the threat to Read more

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San Bernardino and ISIS — Another Perspective

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UncleSamCrying_byJamesCorcoranby Marion Marks

News of ISIS atrocities from the Middle East resonates tales of chaos, destruction and clearing the sense of a society and infrastructure that was, at least, a tribal hierarchy that permitted communication, industry, education and services that met needs above stone-age gatherers and hunters. Mass looting, and the destruction of educational, community services, executing workers of the infrastructure, and not maintaining water, electrical, healthcare and hygiene services provided the government as they go off line resembles a crumbling society. And, as far as Middle-East-Mapthe value of looted treasure coming out of historically significant sites that are being destroyed, a New Yorker article relates it as, “what you’re showing is sort of, like, junk.

Western nations, and surrounding countries with developed armaments, respond with air power, often drones, along with hit and miss demonstrations of force. Respect for culture, history and symbols of Read more

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Newest Shreveport Tax Already on CenterPoint Bills

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Elliott_Stonecipherby Elliott Stonecipher

Much to the surprise of many, the expected continuation of City Council debate on the proposed tax hike on our CenterPoint gas bills will never happen.  Without any further public discussion, a 125% increase from 2.0% to 4.5% has been quietly signed into Shreveport law.

In fact, the Shreveport Times reports CenterPoint’s confirmation that the increase will be on the gas bills of customers whose meters are read after June 1st.

Shreveport City SealAs I stressed in my first article on this subject earlier this month, CenterPoint opposed and never wanted any increase in its “franchise fee.”  Such held zero sway with our Read more

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Trying to be Optimistic for Caddo Parish in 2015

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thick fog on roadby Marion Marks

The fog of the holidays will soon be lifting. Caddo residents need to gear up for the new year and try not to think about all of the failures and resources we’ve wasted over the past eight years that a failed mayor and school board allowed our system to linger in disrepair. As fun and pretty as the holiday decorations have been, it’s almost lovely to try to get your house back to something you can call a “ normal state” (whatever normal really means.)

let_it_go-let_it_go-Let_it_GO I enjoy allowing the holiday to settle into something past, behind me, and try to blaze forward into what I want to believe promises to be a healthier, wiser year! (As a popular and over used children’s chorus sings, “Let It Go, Let It Go!”)

What I don’t like Read more

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Can Senator Landrieu Win One More Time?

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by Elliott Stonecipher

One More time?
One More time?

Yes, as we know, national political eyes are now on Louisiana, more so than other states where Democrats could lose U. S. Senate seats come November.  If those races end up as they now stand, our nation’s last election in determining which party controls the U. S. Senate would be a December run-off for Senator Mary Landrieu’s seat.

It is a fact that Senator Landrieu wins her campaigns, all of them in her career except the 1995 governor’s race.  In that long record of wins, she at times won ugly, too ugly for some of us.  For that and other reasons, Senator Landrieu now finds herself, by acclamation, in the electoral fight of her life.  Her political career may or may not end this year, and more than a few of us believe Louisiana needs precisely the showdown it takes to determine that.

That Senator Landrieu is our last Democrat standing among statewide elected officials has only increased her power.  Our state’s good-sized army of Democrat Party soldiers, from rural parish officials to U. S. Attorneys, salute and serve but one leader.  They turn a supposed “red” political state to one yet producing, in many notable ways, a deep purple political product.  That the Senator often works and votes in opposition to the will of Louisiana’s majority is well-known, as in her unflaggingly strong support of President Obama.  The most recent poll* on this race shows only one-in-three of the rest of us support him.

2014 Political Tug of War-LandrieuEqually dramatic would be the change if the Senator loses.  Louisiana would then send no Democrat U. S. Senator to Washington for the first time since Reconstruction, and the state Democratic Party would slip into a political purgatory unknown to it in state history.
A Misunderestimation of Senator Landrieu’s Chances?

Many national analysts now conclude that Senator Landrieu will lose this election.  If I didn’t know so much about her previous campaigns, I would join in, but I do, so I don’t.

Yes, it is true that the Senator took her seat with only 50.2% of the vote in her 1996 defeat of State Representative Woody Jenkins, then increased her election percentage to only 51.7% when, in 2002, she beat Suzanne Terrell.  Then in 2008, even with the supercharged Dem turnout for President Obama, she beat State Treasurer John Kennedy with 52.7% of the vote.

That’s an unimpressive 2.5% increase in her winning percentage in 12 years, a period during which other statewide elections for Read more

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Elio Motors – Betting on a Hunch

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by Marion Marks*

Coming?
Coming? 2014, 2015?

 

Any vehicle that claims to be getting more than 50 mpg will naturally attract attention, by their fact that all we researched are anomalies or strictly one-off prototypes. Yet, Elio Motors claims its three-wheeled car will rate 84 mpg on the highway, far exceeding any car currently on the market.

Yahoo’s Daily Ticker indicates they have driven the car, something few outside the company have so far been able to do other than a few Shreveporters in a parking lot or on a very controlled environment.

Elio-profile(2014)
$6,800 coffin on three-wheels?

While there’s no definitive verdict on the real impact this car will have outside the wallets of the inner circle who have received great incentives, the car tested is barely a prototype. There aren’t even seat belts in the video or any test drives we have seen! Wouldn’t this be like a motorcycle in more ways than not?

Those who have tested it claim to have had a struggle a little with the lack of power steering and even the lack of a rear-view mirror. We keep referring to it as a three-wheeled coffin.

However, the crash ratings claim to be far more solid than the Read more

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Vetted Facts: 
New Orleans Flood & Survivors

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hurricane-katrina-storyby Sandy Rosenthal
Founder, Levees.org

Yesterday, in the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee of our Louisiana Legislature, we saw some of legislators blatantly say that the purpose of Senate Bill 469 is to kill the Big Oil Lawsuit.

bribery-Big-Oil

Furthermore, Senator Bret Allain, the author of S.B. 469, is so focused on stopping the lawsuit, that he has proposed legislation that could put millions of dollars of federal funding at risk.

Our legislators are protecting the interests of Big Oil and not Citizens!



Senator Allain and also Senator Robert Adley are so intent on stopping the lawsuit against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies for the damage to our protective coastal wetlands that the consequences of this bill have not been thought out.

And the proposed legislation may also be illegal! 

Please click here and urge your state representative to VOTE NO on Senate Bill 469.

http://go.levees.org/SB469

 

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Shreveport & Caddo Shale $$$$$ Rights Litigation

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by Marion Marks

RROShale_Rights_lawsuit Attorneys of Richie, Richie & Oberle have made it quite clear that the class action charging the City of Shreveport and Caddo Parish with illegally leasing mineral rights on adjudicated property to companies drilling for natural gas in the Haynesville Shale filed in Caddo District Court will require taxpayer and officials full attention. Unfortunately, of course, the present city administration will be gone before it must answer for perhaps quite illegal actions. The parish, too, may be required to answer similar questions.Haynesville Shale formation region

Legal staffs – and top elected officials of Shreveport and Caddo governments will be held accountable. The current class of 500+ may be the beneficiaries of poor decisions, and taxpayers may foot the bill for actions by local government which will require some extraordinary explaining. If the legal advice that determined imprudent actions by government officials, millions of dollars and quite a few years will be required to make restitution.

The essential allegation is that there was no legal basis at all for local governments taking these properties / lease payments / continuing production income from properties where the government had no clear title.

The plaintiff in the initial suit is a limited liability company named Red Sox Investments, listed in the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Corporation Database as first filing as a Louisiana LLC in 2003 and being in good standing with the Secretary of State. Red Sox Investments owned a number of adjudicated properties leased to energy companies by the City and Parish.

The company’s registered agent is Richard Hiller, who, along with attorneys Byron Richie and Michael Wainwright, are listed as attorneys in the litigation.

Haynesville Shale Production map
Haynesville Shale Production map

Richie said he expects many more people who owned adjudicated property to join the suit as they learn it has been filed.At this time 500 separate properties qualify to join the suit, but Richie told KTAL, “my best guess is there will probably be in excess of a thousand – I’m guessing from 1,000 to 1,500 (adjudicated properties illegally leased by the City and Parish).

The basis of the litigation is that the City and Parish executed leases on their own property and determined they could also included property they did not own – properties that were “levied by City or Parish governments when taxes were not paid.

Essentially, the government determined, arbitrarily, certain rights and powers over property It does not have clear ownership. The government entities also chose to keep money earned through leasing the property that it did not have clear title.

They will stand in line!
They will stand in line!

According to the suit, government can legally lease the property, but, the suit further states Louisiana law requires the government credit any income from that lease toward the outstanding tax debt. Once that debt is satisfied, the adjudication should be cancelled and ownership restored to the original owner. In addition, the suit claims the law requires any money in excess of the taxes owed – such as bonuses and royalties – are to be paid to the rightful property owner.

Specific mineral leases in adjudicated property between either the City or Parish and various energy companies executed beginning in July 2009 and ending in September 2013 on adjudicated properties are listed in the suit.

The City and Parish will be required to account for all mineral leases executed on adjudicated properties, the bonus and royalty payments received on those properties and the amount of money required for each individual class member to satisfy delinquent taxes. The suit asks for permanent and preliminary injunctions prohibiting the City or Parish from selling those properties or entering into additional contracts related to adjudicated properties.

Finally, the suit asks that adjudicated property be restored to owners and all bonuses and royalties after satisfaction of the tax debt be paid to the owners. Essentially, the city and parish will probably be tied in legal knots and any slush funds of the parish or cushion of the city will be in limbo.

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Mary Landrieu might lose…

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But not because of her Obamacare vote

By Robert Mann

Bob MannFrom Baton Rouge to Washington, the verdict among political observers is that Sen. Mary Landrieu’s 2009 vote for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) doomed her re-election. Perhaps they’re right. But let’s imagine Landrieu had opposed and, therefore, killed the bill.

Had she stopped Obamacare, would Republicans be holding parades in her honor? Would the Democratic Party’s base, including black leaders, now celebrate her decision to abandon them on this monumental vote?Landrieu-Obama arrive in New Orleans

Of course not. Landrieu is not in trouble only because she supported Obamacare. If she had opposed the ACA, Republicans would still attack her with gusto, as would some leading Democrats. Politically, at least, she had no attractive alternative.

It’s not even clear that Obamacare will decide this race. In a special election last Tuesday for a vacant Florida congressional seat, Democrat Alex Sink lost narrowly to her Republican opponent. But a survey by Sink’s pollster suggests her opposition to repealing Obamacare actually helped her with independents who don’t want the law repealed. While an obsession with Obamacare motivates conservative voters, it appears Sink was primarily done in by low Democratic turnout.Obamacare-Who-gets-it

Perhaps one lesson for Landrieu and other Democrats is that they must effectively and aggressively champion the health care law to the party’s base, not just meekly defend it.

The very the idea that Obamacare is broadly unpopular is Read more

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John M. Barry & Louisiana’s Last Hope

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By Tom Aswell*

John M. Barry Credit Ken Goldstein
John M. Barry Credit Ken Goldstein

He glances down at the cellphone lying on the tabletop in the State Capitol restaurant and says almost apologetically, “I never had one of these until two years ago.” He laughs at his own reluctance to accept modern technology. “When I got it, somebody sent me a message welcoming me to the 20th century. Not the 21st, but the 20th.”

That is the first impression one gets of John M. Barry, the soft-spoken point man in the ongoing lawsuit by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (SELFPAE) against 97 oil and gas companies over the destruction of the state’s coastal wetlands.

He speaks in a voice so low that we were forced to move to another table, away from the television that had been directly above us and which kept churning out obnoxious lawyer ads, an irony not lost on the restaurant’s only two customers.

Barryrisingtide-210-expBarry, a gifted researcher and writer is author of several bestselling books, among them 2005’s The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, which was named the year’s outstanding book on science or medicine, and his stark 1998 chronicle Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America. Rising Tide won the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians for the year’s best book of

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