Legacy lawsuit compromise sent to governor's desk

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - One of the most acrimonious issues facing Louisiana lawmakers this session has wrapped up.

The House gave final, unanimous passage Thursday to compromise legislation involving a dispute between the oil and gas industry and landowners over how to clean up environmental damage done in drilling years ago.

The pair of bills will change the complex legal process for dealing with so-called "legacy lawsuits" that seek millions of dollars in damage claims and that the oil and gas companies claim are stymieing energy exploration in the state.

Supporters say the changes will require companies to start cleaning damaged areas to regulatory standards, while other, more extensive damages claims can be pursued in the courts. Certain benchmarks and timelines will be set in handling cases.

The bills head to the governor's desk.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)