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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.

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