A bill to amend the Code of Louisiana by adding thereto a new article, relating to creating the Freedom to Drill Act – Intrastate Mining Act; establishing that the environmental regulation of oil, natural gas, and other minerals mined or extracted within the borders of the state is to be regulated by the agency (or agencies) selected by the Louisiana Legislature; stating the legislative authority; and defining terms.
Findings: Mining of oil, natural gas, and other minerals falls outside the definition of ‘commerce’ as understood by the Framers and Ratifiers of the United States Constitution, defined as ‘Traffick, Trade or Merchandise in Buying and Selling of Goods.’ (Giles Jacob, A New Law-Dictionary (8th ed. 1762), quoted in Robert G. Natelson, “The Legal Meaning of ‘Commerce’ in the Commerce Clause.” St. John’s Law Review 80 (October 28, 2006): 789-848. http://www.umt.edu/law/faculty/natelson/articles/Commerce%20Clause.pdf .) Therefore, neither the U.S. Congress nor any other branch or department of the U.S. government have any power to regulate mining in Louisiana or any other state under color of authority of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:
That the Code of Louisiana be amended by adding thereto a new article, to read as follows:
(1) The regulation of mining is a right reserved to all of the states in general by the 9th and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and to Louisiana in particular by Article I, Section 26, and Article IX of the Louisiana Constitution.
(2) In the U.S. Constitution, the states did not cede to the U.S. government authority over their respective seas and sea beds. Louisiana and all coastal states therefore retain the right of all independent sovereign states to regulate mining and other activities within these waters. (See further in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.)
(3) The Louisiana Legislature shall select the the agency responsible for issuing permits to allow mineral extraction to proceed in Louisiana, onshore or offshore, notwithstanding claims to the contrary by any branch or department of the U.S. government. No permits shall be issued until this agency has certified that the mining site is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
(4) Any municipal, parish, state, or federal officer who attempts to prevent the mining of oil, natural gas, or any other mineral within the borders of the State of Louisiana by a person or entity duly permitted by the selected agency of the Louisiana Legislature to perform such mining operations shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject, for each offense, to imprisonment for not longer than 2 days or to a fine not to exceed 500 dollars.