fracking

Several hundred people packed the gym at Lakeshore High School in Mandeville Wednesday night for a meeting about a hydraulic fracturing well proposed about a mile away.

The Helis Oil and Gas project is designed to use a process known as fracking, and is strongly opposed by some residents. They’re worried about the underground well contaminating the community water supply. And they say it’s an inappropriate use of the land.

Helis wants to tap into shale with a 13,000-foot well on 960 acres near the high school.

A state district judge in Baton Rouge has refused to block a lawsuit filed by St. Tammany Parish officials working to stop a proposed oil drilling and fracking project.

Parish officials filed the lawsuit in June. They argue that the well is proposed for an area zoned residential, and that the parish has the authority to ban hydraulic fracturing.

The state Department of Natural Resources' Office of Conservation wants the suit thrown out.

But the judge told attorneys yesterday that the case has enough merit to be heard.

In the end, the Mandeville City Council deferred action on a proposed resolution to ban fracking. Council members said they needed more time and more information about the practice before making a decision.

About a half-dozen Mandeville residents spoke during the meeting to make the case against fracking. But no one from Helis Oil and Gas was there.

Helis is a New Orleans company. They’re seeking permits to drill a well just north of Interstate 12 and use the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, method to extract oil and gas.

While critics of a proposed hydraulic fracturing project in Mandeville appeared at a state hearing in Baton Rouge, a lawsuit was filed in a nearby courtroom to stop the plan.

The New Orleans Advocate is reporting that the state Department of Natural Resources is considering a permit requested by Helis Oil and Gas. The hearing focused on whether the 960-acre parcel north of Interstate 12 is large enough to handle the process known as fracking.

The St. Tammany Parish Council is filing a lawsuit claiming the project can’t be done on land zoned for residential use.

Kate Ausburn / Flickr

Helis Oil & Gas Company has agreed to a phased approach to its project in St. Tammany, starting only with a conventional vertical well, the Times-Picayune reports.

St. Tammany Parish officials announced the scaled-back plans Tuesday afternoon.

The proposal calls for Helis to drill down 13,000 feet vertically, and to analyze the findings over three to four months.  

The company has agreed to proceed with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, only if commercially-viable quantities of oil are found to be present.

The nation's boom in natural gas production has come with a cost: The technique used to get much of the gas out of the ground, called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has contaminated drinking water. But how often and where this contamination is taking place is a matter of much debate and litigation.

Now, a new study has found natural pathways of contamination — but that doesn't mean the drilling industry is off the hook.

From WHYY

A new law in Pennsylvania has doctors nervous.

The law grants physicians access to information about trade-secret chemicals used in natural gas drilling. Doctors say they need to know what's in those formulas in order to treat patients who may have been exposed to the chemicals.

But the new law also says that doctors can't tell anyone else — not even other doctors — what's in those formulas. It's being called the "doctor gag rule."

'I Don't Know If It's Due To Exposure'

Gaby Petron didn't set out to challenge industry and government assumptions about how much pollution comes from natural gas drilling.

She was just doing what she always does as an air pollution data sleuth for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"I look for a story in the data," says Petron. "You give me a data set, I will study it back and forth and left and right for weeks, and I will find something to tell about it."

Interactive Map: Conventional Natural Gas Drilling Areas And Shale Basins

May 17, 2012

For many years, natural gas companies have been producing the fuel from "conventional" gas reservoirs, relatively close to the surface and easily accessible. New shale gas production techniques have opened much wider areas for exploration, including the Marcellus area in Pennsylvania and Haynesville area in Texas and Louisiana.

 

Pages