Department of Natural Resources Called Out - Improper Contact with Oil Industry Coziness Reminiscent of Pre BP Days

| Press Releases

August 27, 2013 For Immediate Release For Immediate Release

Contact: Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, 504.452.4909

Where: 123 Baronne Street between Canal and Common – outside the Roosevelt Hotel

When: Tuesday, August 27, 10:30 am

Visuals: Eight dancers in oily hoop skirts depict oil industry and government dancing together

(New Orleans) An exclusive meeting hosted by the Department of Natural Resources is coming under fire today for creating an inappropriate atmosphere between regulators and the oil companies they are supposed to regulate. The SONRIS Conference, as it is called, is being held at the Roosevelt Hotel in downtown New Orleans. “It is not appropriate for regulators and the oil industry to have cocktail parties and tours of the Garden District together,” said Anne Rolfes, Founding Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, referring to items listed on the agenda. “This is a flashback to the BP Disaster, when we learned that the lines were blurred between the regulators and industry they were supposed to be regulating.” Splashed across the conference materials are pictures of crawfish, oysters and Jax Brewery, with the words “Experience New Orleans.”

Link to the conference agenda: http://dnr.louisiana.gov/assets/OMR/media/2013/images/BrochureOnlineVersion.pdf

The purpose of the gathering, according to the materials, is to “share valuable information to assist with conducting oil and gas business in Louisiana.” The Louisiana Bucket Brigade received copies of the meeting budget as well as a statement from an event company involved in the meeting. Included in the line items were a Cooking School Tour, Movie Tour, and what is called a “social reception.” Staff members from public agencies will be attending the conference. “Bayou Corne is sinking, we have multiple petrochemical accidents every week, and our wetlands are washing away,” said Ms. Rolfes. “Agency staff should be in the communities that need help, not at a bar with the oil industry.”

The conference fee is $450 ($400 for early birds), with no possibility of waiving the fee for the general public. The meeting is also sponsored by the Department of Environmental Quality, the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The public agenda provides titles but no descriptions of the sessions. An analysis of the agenda shows that, of the approximately 33 sessions, 15 appear to be regulatory in nature, with the remaining 18 appearing to explain how better to work the system. “We encourage sessions in which regulators review the law with the oil industry,” said Ms. Rolfes. “But the Roosevelt Hotel is not the appropriate setting. And far too much of the agenda is devoted to giving away our natural resources rather than defending them.”

This is the seventh year of the SONRIS conference. The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is calling on the Department of Natural Resources to terminate the annual event and move any sessions regarding laws and regulations to a more appropriate setting.

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