The Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) is looking at the option of asking utilities to purchase 5% of their energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass by 2010 with a 1% increase per year to achieve 20% renewable energy by 2025. LPSC had previously studied the possibility of a renewable portfolio standard and rejected it on the grounds of possible increase in energy prices.

Louisiana has strict oil and gas drilling safety rules in the country with the introduction of a new office policy requiring newly proposed oil or gas wells to be at a minimum distance of 1,000 feet from interstates over major waterways.

The Department of Natural Resources Office of Conservation introduced the ban from January 12, 2009.

The new ban includes such areas as Interstate 10 where it crosses the Sabine, Calcasieu, Mississippi and Pearl rivers, the Atchafalaya Basin and Lake Pontchartrain; Interstate 12 over the Amite river; and the Interstate 20 crossing of the Red, Ouachita, Tensas and Mississippi rivers.

Most of the oil and gas producing states have no rules regarding the distance between oil and gas drilling operations and roadways. And wherever there is a regulation, there no more than a 100-foot distance is required.

“The new rules have placed new burdens on oil and gas exploration companies, but they, too, recognize the need to make the drilling process as safe as possible for their employees and the public,” Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation James Welsh, said.