EXECUTIVE ORDER MJF 97-7

Removal of Abandoned Barges and Vessels


WHEREAS: a recent report entitled Final Report of the Abandoned and Derelict Vessels Inventory in Fulfillment of Mandates of R.S. 30:2469 by the Office of the Governor, through the Office of the Oil Spill Coordinator, reveals that there are 160 abandoned barges in Louisiana which pose a substantial threat to the environment and to human health and safety;

WHEREAS: the United State Environmental Protection Agency and Coast Guard, acting pursuant to the federal Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and the Abandoned Barge Act of 1992, are willing to work with the Office of the Oil Spill Coordinator to abate and/or remove those 160 abandoned barges;

WHEREAS: by virtue of R.S. 30:2469, the Office of the Oil Spill Coordinator is presently authorized to remove only those vessels or structures that are in a wrecked, derelict, or substantially dismantled condition and which discharge or threaten to discharge oil in coastal waters, on public or private lands, or at a public or private port or dock;

WHEREAS: R.S. 34:843 provides broader removal authority than does R.S. 30:2469, in that it authorizes the federal, state, and local "governing authority" to remove abandoned barges and vessels;

WHEREAS: R.S. 34:843 does not name or limit which entities are a state governing authority; and

WHEREAS: to facilitate the joint federal and state abandoned barge abatement effort, it is necessary that the Office of the Oil Spill Coordinator be designated by the state as a state "governing authority" within the meaning and for purposes of R.S. 34:843;

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

SECTION 1: The Office of Oil Spill Coordinator is designated a state "governing authority" within the meaning and for the purposes of R.S. 34:843 and, therefore, possesses the jurisdiction and authority to remove abandoned barges and vessels.

SECTION 2: All departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and officers of the state, and any political subdivisions thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Office of Oil Spill Coordinator in implementing the provisions of this Order.

SECTION 3: This Order is effective upon signature of the Governor and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the Governor, or terminated by operation of law.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 the State of Louisiana at the Capitol, in the City of Baton Rouge on this 30th day of January, 1997.

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

ATTEST BY
THE GOVERNOR
Fox McKeithen
Secretary of State