FRACKING FIGHT: St. Tammany May Be Following In New York’s Footsteps

What do the very liberal New York State and supposedly the ‘most conservative parish in the state’ St. Tammany Parish have in common? They both adamantly oppose the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for drilling for oil and gas.

Most recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a sort of liberal god to leftists, banned the use of fracking in the entire state of New York. And St. Tammany Parish could very-well follow in one of the most liberal states’ footsteps, as citizen groups and the St. Tammany Parish Council look at a possible ban on fracking.

The plan by Helis Oil and Gas would establish rules and regulations as to how the oil and gas would be produced via fracking.

A drilling permit was most recently approved by DNR, but Helis must still await approval on a wetland’s permit, which is bound to be held up in court.

The approximate 13,000 foot depth of the drilling, which is projected for the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, Reservoir A in the Lacombe Bayou Field, close to the Intersection of Highway 1088 and I-12, will be through a major aquifer which provides water to most of the parish’s residents.

In New York, the affects that a ban on fracking will have on farmers, the state’s energy industry and small businesses may prove to be detrimental, as the Daily Caller has pointed out.

“I’m devastated,” apple farmer David Johnson told The Guardian after Wednesday’s announcement that New York was banning fracking. “I have concerns about how to continue this farm that’s been in the family for 150 years.”

“If we had been able to get some gas drilling going it would have made our lives a little easier and taken a few of the stresses away,” echoed Judi Whittaker, who owns a dairy farm and hoped for gas royalties to help pay her high property taxes. “We’ll just have to rethink what we’re doing and move ahead. Agriculture has ups and downs all the time. You just have to go along for the ride.”

In St. Tammany, groups like the Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany (CCST) and the Parish Council have contemplated how the parish could possibly ban fracking, as the parish council unanimously is against the energy proposal by Helis.

In fact, the Parish Council has dished out thousands of dollars to an outside legal firm to help fight fracking from the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Helis.

And, the small town of Abita Springs, where the fracking project will take place, has filed suit against DNR and Helis as well, claiming that fracking would be damaging to the area.

There’s no end in sight for the fracking project in St. Tammany, though, just yet. Just last week, Helis’ drilling permit was approved by the state, but a wetland’s permit is still pending with the Army Corps of Engineers.

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