§700.2. Establishment, continuance, and purposes of fund; geographical coverage; assessments
A. There is hereby established in the state treasury a Fishermen's Gear Compensation Fund into which amounts paid pursuant to this Section shall be deposited. The fund shall be available to the secretary only for the following purposes:
(1) Administrative and personnel expenses of the fund.
(2) Payment of any fully justified claim made in accordance with procedures established herein for actual damages suffered by a commercial fisherman as a result of hitting or snagging an obstruction or hazard in the waters of the state resulting from natural occurrences, oil and gas activities, or other activities where the owner of said obstruction is unknown.
(3) Expenses necessary to implement an investigatory survey of existing potential underwater obstructions which might be due to past drilling, production, and transportation activities. Such survey shall be conducted in not more than three geographical areas which are known to be hazardous as a result of underwater obstructions, the locations and sizes of which shall be approved by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment, meeting jointly, following a consensus of opinion relative thereto rendered by commercial fishermen and the secretary. The purpose of the survey shall be to reveal the location, size, and density of underwater obstructions, as well as to test investigatory procedures, so as to provide field data and information which might aid fishermen directly and which shall be used to design a program more responsive to the needs of fishermen. Withdrawals from the fund for the purposes of surveying shall be limited to the one-time application described in this Paragraph and shall not exceed one-fourth of the monies remaining in the fund at the time that this Paragraph becomes effective.
(4) On July 1, 2014, and on each July first thereafter and ending after June 30, 2018, the state treasurer shall annually deposit, the amount of two hundred fifty thousand dollars into the Underwater Obstruction Removal Fund as provided in R.S. 30:101.9. The department shall seek to match these funds with whatever federal or state funds may be available for such purposes.
B. The Fishermen's Gear Compensation Fund shall be established for Louisiana territorial waters which overlie state-owned waterbottoms which are contained within the coastal zone boundaries as described and established by R.S. 49:213.4.
C.(1) The fund shall be established within sixty days of the effective date of this Part, at a level sufficient to meet administrative and personnel expenses of the fund, including implementation of responsibilities set forth in R.S. 56:700.5, as well as payment of justified claims made pursuant to this Part.
(2)(a) To create a workable balance immediately upon establishment of the fund, the secretary shall be authorized and empowered to levy a fee upon each lessee of a state mineral lease and each grantee of a state right of way, for each lease and right of way in effect at the time of the effective date of this Part and which are located within the coastal zone boundary, in an amount of three hundred dollars. The secretary shall not be authorized and empowered to levy the fee upon a political subdivision of the state.
(b) The state treasurer shall be authorized to pay into the fund a sum in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars from proceeds remaining in the Bond Security and Redemption Fund after compliance with dedications of mineral royalties, leases, bonuses, and rights of way and other sums payable to the state as lessor of mineral leases and grantor of rights of way as required pursuant to R.S. 30:136(B) and 136.1(A), (B), and (C), after a sufficient amount has been allocated from the Bond Security and Redemption Fund to pay all obligations secured by the full faith and credit of the state which become due and payable within the fiscal year.
D. In the same fiscal year during which the fund is established, and in each fiscal year subsequent to that in which the fund is established, at any time that the balance of the fund becomes two hundred fifty thousand dollars or less and the secretary determines that additional monies are required to pay justified claims and to cover necessary administrative costs of the program, the secretary shall be authorized and empowered to replenish the fund by levying additional fees on each lessee of a state mineral lease and each grantee of a state right of way, for each lease or right of way in effect at the time of establishing the fee rate and which are located within the coastal zone boundary. However, fees levied upon leases and rights of way as provided herein shall be made on a per-unit basis at a level not to exceed one thousand dollars per lease or right of way during any fiscal year.
Added by Acts 1979, No. 673, §1. Amended by Acts 1981, No. 477, §1. Acts 1983, No. 705, §6, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1991, No. 337, §1; Acts 1999, No. 599, §2, eff. July 1, 1999; Acts 2001, No. 705, §1, eff. July 1, 2001; Acts 2003, No. 830, §1, eff. July 1, 2003; Acts 2007, No. 167, §1, eff. June 29, 2007; Acts 2008, No. 580, §7; Acts 2012, No. 70, §1, eff. May 11, 2012; Acts 2014, No. 755, §1, eff. July 1, 2014.