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Sunday, August 19, 2018
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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


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

Recent Topics


     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

Is Louisiana a Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?

     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?

     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
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