Environmental Contamination Notification Order

WHEREAS, the 1974 Louisiana Constitution imposes a public trust which requires state government to protect, conserve, and replenish water and other natural resources so far as possible and consistent with the health, safety, and welfare of the people of Louisiana;

WHEREAS, environmental contamination occurs from both manmade and natural sources and sometimes can have adverse health impacts on people;

WHEREAS, several agencies within the executive branch of state government may determine that environmental contamination exists within a certain geographic area;

WHEREAS, the health, safety, and welfare of the people of Louisiana would be improved, and the government would better fulfill its public trust obligations, if those executive branch agencies notified, or caused to be notified, people who may be exposed to environmental contamination when such agency has sound scientific knowledge of environmental contamination that exceeds the applicable federal and state health standards and that may cause adverse health effects;

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

SECTION 1: Definitions

A. "Affected agencies" shall include all of the following:

Department of Agriculture and Forestry
Department of Environmental Quality
Department of Health and Hospitals
Department of Natural Resources
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

B. "Notice" shall mean communicating information of environmental contamination by a method or methods which are reasonably calculated to make the people who may be exposed to such contamination aware of the contamination. The type of notice required will vary depending on the nature and severity of the contamination, its geographic location, the number of people in the contaminated area, and other factors. Depending on the pertinent circumstances, such notice may include, but is not limited to, the following: posting of signs, publishing a notice in the official journal(s) of the contaminated area, issuing a press release, holding a press conference, direct mailings to individuals in the contaminated area, posting on the agency's internet website, or personal visits to such individuals.

SECTION 2: Whenever any affected agency has confirmed, through sound scientific methods, the presence of an environmental contaminant which exceeds the applicable federal or state health and safety standards and poses a risk of adverse health effects, then such agency shall give or cause to be given reasonable notice to individuals within that area of the contamination and provide information regarding any potential adverse health effects posed by the contamination.

SECTION 3: All affected agencies shall, to the best of their ability, immediately begin to conduct or cause to be conducted searches of their existing records and give notice of any existing conditions as required by Section 2 of this Order. Such searches shall be completed as soon as is practicable under the circumstances.

SECTION 4: The notice requirements provided in Sections 2 and 3 of this Order are effective immediately. In addition, all affected agencies shall issue emergency rules and shall, without undue delay, begin the process to adopt permanent rules to further implement such notice requirements as are necessary to fulfill the public trust requirements of the 1974 Louisiana Constitution. All affected agencies shall cooperate with each other to ensure that each of their individual notice requirements are similar to and complement those of the other agencies to the fullest extent practicable, and that each agency will share information regarding the presence of environmental contaminants with the others in a timely manner.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the city of Baton Rouge, on this 1st day of October, 2001.

M.J. "Mike" Foster, Jr.

Fox McKeithen
Secretary of State