No reservoir commission yet: Governor still waiting for rep’s suggestions for new group

Published 7:16 am Friday, September 2, 2016

Although Gov. John Bel Edwards has been busy naming members to boards this week, he did not name a new Washington Parish Reservoir Commission as expected.

Edwards had a meeting with Ellen Palmintier, the director of the governor’s office of Boards and Commissions on Wednesday. During that meeting, Palminitier said State Rep. Scott Simon, who represents a western fringe of the parish, has not submitted his nominations yet.

Palmintier has already received nominations from Parish President Richard “Ned” Thomas, State Rep. Malinda White, State Sen. Beth Mizell and the parish council. However, Palmintier said the governor would only name a commission once all the nominations have been submitted.

“I didn’t get the nominations from the legislative delegation in time,” she said.

She said she doesn’t know when Simon will give her his suggested names, and she said she doesn’t know when a new board might be assembled. However, she is set to meet with the governor next on Sept. 12.

“As long as nothing crazy happens then I should meet with him on the 12th and I am sure I’ll have the other nominations in by then,” she said.

The new board will look at the possibilities of a reservoir in the parish. However, due to a state law passed earlier this year, the board will be unable to take private property through eminent domain, meaning land can only be acquired by a voluntary sale process.

The members of the current board had considered developing a reservoir in the Oak Grove community using eminent domain, and that possibility outraged many homeowners in the area. The law was aimed at eliminating that possibility.