SHREVEPORT – Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell said the Louisiana PSC should do away with antiquated rules that govern the waste-hauling industry and follow the Legislature’s plan to open the industry to competition. “Louisiana is one of the only states in the country that allows trucking firms hauling waste products to veto potential competitors,” Campbell said. “That drives up prices, stops job-creation and protects a tiny group of well-connected haulers.” Campbell, representing the PSC’s North Louisiana District 5, and Commissioner Lambert Boissiere, District 3-New Orleans, will propose at the commission’s December 20th meeting that it adopt rules that comply with Act 278 of the 2017 Legislature. The bill, by Senator Blade Moorish of Lake Charles, passed 79-20 in the House and 36-0 in the Senate. It does away with the requirement that applicants for PSC waste-hauling permits prove “public convenience and necessity” to gain authority to haul hazardous, non-hazardous and oilfield wastes.
“The bill passed overwhelmingly,” Campbell said. “The Legislature recognized that the PSC’s existing rules do little to protect the public from hazards but everything to protect a cozy minority of haulers with special permits.” Boissiere noted that earlier this week 19th Judicial District Judge Michael Caldwell threw out a PSC challenge to the law, agreeing with the Legislature that the role of the commission is “to support the constitution and laws of this State. “The Attorney General’s office, representing the Legislature, told Judge Caldwell it was ‘the plain truth’ that legislation has long been a part of the PSC’s regulation of waste-haulers. “The Legislature amended the law on waste-hauling seven times between 1999 and 2017, not including Sen. Moorish’s bill this year,” Boissiere said. PSC records indicate that only eight companies possess statewide authority to haul all three regulated types of waste, and none of the haulers are located in North Louisiana. “These are what I call the ‘Platinum Rolex’ permits,” Campbell said. “Last month we heard a case involving a permit that was allegedly sold twice by its owner, once for a million dollars. “Opening up the waste-hauling business to competition will lower the cost of waste-disposal for a variety of industries, including oil and gas. Under our plan we keep the good parts of the PSC rules, such as requirements that truckers maintain insurance and observe all safety regulations.”