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Louisiana legislator pushes bills benefiting the oil and gas industry — and her husband

Internal emails show Louisiana state senator Sharon Hewitt worked on a bill with a company that had financial ties to her spouse

A gas transmission pipeline cuts the landscape in St. Bernard Parish, LA on July 21, 2018. Although the Coastal Zone Management Act says that pipeline rights of way will be re-vegetated, the law often goes unenforced in Louisiana. (Credit: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

By Sara Sneath for Floodlight

More than 300 people were evacuated from their homes and 49 hospitalized when a carbon dioxide pipeline run by an oil and gas company ruptured in a rural community in Mississippi. People were described as wandering around “like zombies” in the aftermath of the February 2020 incident.

Less than a week later, Sharon Hewitt, a Louisiana state senator who has considered running for governor, filed a bill drafted by the operator of that pipeline, Denbury Resources, into her own state’s legislature.

The law, passed in 2020, could make it more difficult for Louisiana landowners to dispute CO2 pipelines, which are used to transport carbon pollution captured from fossil fuel projects. The bill was introduced and signed into law the same year that Hewitt’s husband, Stan, earned up to $4,999 in royalties from Denbury, according to Hewitt’s 2020 financial disclosure statement.

There have been other instances when Sharon Hewitt, who previously worked at Shell, has pushed for laws that would benefit her husband’s company, according to public records shared with Floodlight.

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