WWL>Topics>>6-17 10:35am Rep Walt Leger talks to Garland, La. BP funds

6-17 10:35am Rep Walt Leger talks to Garland, La. BP funds

Jun 17, 2014|

Governor Jindal is pulling out a billion dollars from BP oil spill money to plug budget holes. Does that put coastal restoration money from the federal government in jeopardy? When we’ll get the money to replace the billion Jindal borrowed is unclear. And, some in Washington are already questioning our state's decision NOT to sue oil companies for wetlands destruction. Garland was joined by State Rep District 91, Walt Leger, to clear up any misconceptions.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well word think about reports -- government jungle in the legislature. You -- zero billion dollars of funds earmarked for coastal restoration of repo -- that the legislature's. Raided to balance the operating budget. And current and prior users. And toward. 2006 in budget. W group voted on by legislators during that 2000 between regular session. You'll need to take another two billion in coastal restoration plunged to balance. And the billion dollars of he reports from correct went to the review date on about 45%. Up. Medicaid trust one for the elderly male trust fund will be. Holman community big services for the development mentally disabled. All revolutionary legislator joins his 2.2 Walter welcome to show good talk commute via. -- -- thank you so much is great being here from. In this to -- Did there it is that if I understand it correctly that the governor took basically you billion dollars. Out of -- rig well out of the money we're supposed to get from BP -- we have not. To plug some budget holes. And an -- is that correct is that realistic part of opera. So well so it's. It's a complicated situation. And I think that's there there's a little bit confused around the issue like I think -- I think your Cracker Barrel. The mark we don't have their money yet. And so as we all -- their ongoing litigation with Heatley are currently examined at the circuit or bulk from airport 20/20 share. -- Louisiana as well as many local governments are in south Louisiana. App claims against BP gorloks. We're basically. Economic losses associated -- spill. And there are cup Porter recovered and under there are under federal law. It and then the house the state that's not the individual -- Out yet written but -- yet -- That that doesn't relate to the business economic loss claims or to the individual economical off our hands or any of the other client associate where. I -- -- invite the people sucked all the air. And partly our our department approved erupting -- morning picture and then we go along. That money going to businesses and individuals. Does not go to the legislature. That's correct and that bigger dollar to the ones European recovered by small businesses across Louisiana and Mississippi Alabama border. This is a particular claim that has been asserted. After the Italy and a or oh loss of tax revenues and an economic damages associated with the spill and so. As we all -- senator Landrieu has been a real champion on this issue she established -- -- act which requires that. Criminal penalties. And as well that's civil penalties associated with violations Clean Water Act being dedicated to. The stage or coastal restoration activity. On the other hand the money that we're talking about a year. That is apart some legislation that was an act now and in this section. It related to economic damages sustained by the state. There is an estimation of that money will be could be in the billions of dollars that's unclear because we're continuing to litigate the issues that stated retained expert for. That will testify and try to establish where that. Amount is certainly BP well. Doctor -- that information there'll be litigation about it at some point we believe they'll either be settlement or judgment. From the court -- relate to those damages and what this legislation says is that for. Only those economic damages not for the Clean Water Act fines or the criminal penalties fines or the other -- for violation of federal law. Goes because dollar economic damages would what flowing into a rain date on. The Medicaid trust -- for the elderly as well as health trust on the -- on the community based services and development disable. The argument for why that is reasonable is that because of economic downturn and loss of revenue associated with the spill. Some of these farms where or used to balance the budget in those years where revenue is now and so. While we use the rainy day on. Under certain trigger under the constitution. These this -- say that is there a way of re punishing on now also Garland it would important notice. The the arraigned on at about 300 million dollar short of its chapel right now. And so. Bit the legislation would only require that. Peace economic damages lowered that -- until it reaches its statutory cap. And the speed that the money that would go into the Medicaid trust on for the elderly also cap up to 700 million dollars and so. I thought you'd think it's important that you make that distinction between the criminal penalties the Clean Water Act fines. And -- -- act monies that are designated for coach -- and the economic damages that would essentially be. Would actually blow into the general on the be able to be used for any governmental purpose except that this legislation and act. Are drunk person wounded minutes it's a little confusing but the media and news reports say that govern gentle. As second billion dollars out of the BP oil money that a I don't think we've seen a to plug all there. -- bonds. That short of its. Reported 5% of the money went to the rainy day and sported by pursuant to the medical trust. What -- old. Early noon. 10%. To help trust -- home community big services for the developmentally disabled. We have vote legislator Walter -- with the a ball period of forgive me I want to go back over this -- see if I understand correctly that one going to agree. The legislature's. Used to billion dollars in loans earmarked. Pork coastal restoration. To -- phones that legislators. Raided. To balance the operating budget in the current and prior years is that incorrect. I think that -- -- do you think that that's inaccurate and that is an and that's what. You can certainly make the argument and -- that east bonds have that these two on had been used to balance the budget and that's correct. Bit I think that the mistake and that impact statement is that these dollars are earmarked for coastal activities. These dollars are economic damages their claim that have been started by the state. For recovery -- lost. Revenues that would have been generated by the state but for. The oil spill and the and the downturn in the economy that result because. And so that the confusion is that there are there are billions. The dollars that are earmarked. For coastal restoration activities we have senator Landrieu and her leadership. Q to thank for the fact that those dollars -- earmarked it that's happened that happened by operation of the restore act which he cast. Following in the oil -- that requires. That dollars from civil penalties. Administrative penalties. And some other penalties associated with violation of federal law. Shelby earmarks for various expenditures that relates to coastal activities ecological restoration. Economic. Development and tourism promotion. As well as comprehensive. The comprehensive. Coastal master plan or redeveloping our coastline and protecting our parking it in the future. These dollars though. That are that the legislature enacted this guilt or our economic damage recovery which is separate and apart from the civil. And administrative. Peace and who figure you're also correct in noting that we don't have those dollar yet. And so. Bet that the litigation ongoing it relates to dollars associate economic damages. And -- is there no I think that the legislature's. Dolan or governor general this done. -- weren't as carefully. That -- from Washington that don't want to give -- 50000000400. Built in what it could take part coastal master plan. Nothing has be been done. To make them or give them. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Garland that I think the easiest and best way to look at that -- that this is. A look at recovery of these economic damages so accurate look at the recovery at any damages associated with any lawsuit that the state may. That you know pursuant. For the people of that state. -- on traditionally flow into the general on. And would be open and available for competition in the budgeting process could be spent for any purpose. And so. Certainly I'm sure that there Spokane Washington who don't wanna assist dust and meeting that the coastal restoration needs. And hurricane protection is -- we have well hope that our leadership in Washington would be able to continue to advocate here. We are vitally important to the nation's economy and to our energy security. Ports like pork -- -- certainly supported the war on critical to the entire nation. As it relates to economic activity maritime commerce and energy commerce and so those are some of the reasons why they should assist -- -- announced. Now. I think it's very fair and it's arguable. That all of the money received. Any litigation related to be peace should be directed to coastal activity. The reality however is that the entire state suffered economic damages and as a as associated with the BP oil spill and so the the folks in the northern part of the state. Who suffered economic damage as well. Deserve to be able to benefit in some -- from the economic damages that shall be recovered by the. And I understand that part of -- we're going to get about a minute but it political analysts awfully cold sly and there at that whatever damages. The a -- because of BP oil spill will be mind. There and know. Our. Current and all of the money that's available. Going to. Coach restoration master plan. They're that they're there -- the stark reality is that they're essentially ban that that the worst actually get angle and state government. Where there's not enough revenue to meet Albany's the state. And so what I think you see here years. It's sort of revenue being identified. To try to steal some of those other means my hope would be that moving forward we work -- diligently. Two. Find other sources of revenue that can be used to address the news -- state has the reality is. These bonds were these these funds for health care and also a rainy day funds were used to help balance the budget cut the downturn in the economy. That's why we need. All wrong that we run out of time but I approved shooters always called a -- -- ignored important. --