At issue in the lawsuits was how to value the oil and gas pipelines that cross the state, Longman stated in a news release.
Three pipeline companies, including ANR Pipeline, Southern Natural Gas and Tennessee Gas filed a spate of suits against the Louisiana Tax Commission and assessors challenging the method in which their property was valued for property tax purposes and claiming that they were being overcharged, Longman stated.
The tax bills were paid under protest and held in escrow until settlement, he stated.
Although 52 parishes were involved in the lawsuit, the amounts paid under protest in St. Mary Parish were among the highest in Louisiana, he stated.
Longman stated that Texas-based Kinder Morgan, which recently acquired the three pipeline companies, sought the settlement.
According to Longman, “after the purchase by Kinder Morgan the case took a turn in the right direction. Kinder Morgan expressed a strong desire to operate as a good corporate citizen and to bring these lawsuits to a mutually acceptable conclusion.”
Longman also reported that Kinder Morgan “made the process of settling this so efficient that it has been truly remarkable that all the lengthy legal battles we endured was simply handled within days, not years; they deserve to be commended for their commitment and efforts,” he stated.
Longman stated that St. Mary Parish Sheriff Mark Hebert has already distributed the funds held in escrow to the tax recipient bodies.
The settlement was reached in October, he stated.