BATON ROUGE, La. — A New Orleans area lawmaker's proposal to tax the piping of natural gas through Louisiana failed to win approval Monday from a House committee, likely killing the tax hike for the session.
Rep. Reed Henderson, D-Chalmette, said the legislation would help cover state budget shortfalls, as well as repair environmental damage from existing pipelines and drilling.
"One of the things that's always made me very angry is the fact that our state is being used and abused in order to provide the cheap cost of energy to the rest of the country," said Henderson.
Business and energy industry representatives, along with Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, opposed the measure.
As proposed by Henderson, the bill would have needed 2/3 support from lawmakers and backing from voters to change the state constitution. The House Ways and Means Committee rejected the measure without objection.
Rep. Jane Smith, R-Bossier City, said the proposal could discourage development in the Haynesville Shale in northwestern Louisiana, which has become the largest-producing natural gas shale find in the United States.
"There are many direct and indirect wonderful things that are happening because of what's happened with the Haynesville Shale," said Smith. "The last thing we want to do is something to disenfranchise that."