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Panelist Bio


James H. "Jim" Welsh
Commissioner of Conservation/DNR

Jim Welsh was born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi. He received his B.S. degree in Geology from LSU in June, 1960. After graduation, he worked in Laurel for five years as a geologist for an independent oil company and as a well-testing engineer for a core analysis company.

In 1965, Welsh returned to Louisiana as a geologist with the Louisiana Geological Survey, Department of Conservation. His main areas of work expertise were in economic geology, subsurface geology, oil and gas unitization, and salt water disposal.
Welsh became involved with the initiation of the Office of Conservation's new lignite surface mining regulatory program in the late 1970's, and in 1980 he was named Chief of Surface Mining. In 1983, he was named Director of the newly formed Injection and Mining Division, which was responsible for Conservation's environmental programs dealing with salt water disposal wells, hazardous waste injection wells, E&P waste disposal, salt dome cavern storage, and surface mining of coal and lignite.

In 1996, Welsh was named Assistant Commissioner of Conservation, and was the chief administrative assistant to the Commissioner of Conservation in matters dealing with the budget, legislature, personnel, technical and policy matters, as well as coordination of activities of the several Divisions within the Office.

In June of 2001, Welsh retired from State service with over 36 years of service. Effective July 1, 2002, Welsh was given the distinct and high honor of returning to the Office of Conservation as Commissioner of Conservation in the Department of Natural Resources.

Jim Welsh has served as the Governor's representative on the Interstate Mining Compact Commission, the Governor's alternate on the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission, he was an active member of the Ground Water Practices Council, he was a chief developer of many environmental portions of Louisiana's Statewide Order No. 29-B, he served as a technical expert on USEPA'S regulation negotiation team to develop the national rules for underground injection of hazardous waste, he served on DEQ's NORM Advisory Committee, and participated in drafting Louisiana's comprehensive ground water management plan.

Jim Welsh is married and lives with his wife, Roni, in St. Francisville, Louisiana.

Current Topic


     02/17 - Black & the Blue

What can be done to improve trust among the police and the public they serve?
Last year’s shooting of an African-American male in Baton Rouge by two white police officers re-ignited a national debate on how law enforcement interacts with minority communities. Nationwide demonstrations were ultimately marred by the targeted ambush of 12 white officers in Dallas and the killing of three members of law enforcement in Baton Rouge. What can be done to improve trust among the police and the public they serve? How can Louisiana’s Capital City productively move beyond these events? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on a special town hall edition, “Black & the Blue” Wednesday, February 22 at 7pm; Sunday, February 26 at 1pm and Tuesday, February 28 at 10pm after the State of the Union address on LPB HD. In New Orleans on WLAE, Wednesday, February 22 at 7 PM. (Recorded Monday, February 20)

Our panelists will be:
• Fr. Rick Andrus, St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Together BR
• Darrell Basco, state president of Fraternal Order of Police
• Sharon Weston Broome, Mayor-President of Baton Rouge
• Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge; Public Safety Task Force
• Stephanie Riegel; Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Reverend Raymond Jetson, pastor of Star Hill Church host the program. Robyn Merrick with the Southern University System and Bob Mann with LSU’s Manship School will moderate the discussion.
Learn More!
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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     03/17 - Fiscal Reform 2017

Is it time to reform Louisiana’s tax code?

Recent Topics


     01/17 - Healthy New Year!

What is the best approach to shedding pounds in a state where cuisine is part of its culture?

     12/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home (Encore Presentation)

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     11/16- Beyond the Flood

What lessons did residents and state officials learn from this historic event and what challenges remain?

     10/16 - Election 2016

What concerns are on citizens’ minds as they go to the polls this fall?
»»» View all Topics!
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