Northshore’s Fight Against Fracking

By Alex Davis

A proposed fracking operation on the Northshore has residents and environmental advocates concerned. According to reports from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Helis Oil and Gas Company LLC was approved by the state government in August 2014 to establish a drilling facility, and later applied for a fracking permit in November. The report said that Helis’ plan would consist of a drilling facility and pipeline that would function in Tangipahoa, Washington, and St. Tammany Parishes. The company, which is a New Orleans based business established in 1934, stated on their website that their members have performed 60 similar drilling operations and currently maintain 100 oil wells in Louisiana.

However, not everyone is on board with the drilling plan. Lisa Jordan, Deputy Director of the Tulane Law Environmental Clinic, is an attorney who specializes in wetland and environmental issues. In a November 2014 written statement to the DNR, Jordan argued that the DNR did not take into account the potential environmental impact of the fracking, including ignoring potential alternate drilling sites and Helis’ planned safety measures. The Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany (CCST), the group of parish residents Jordan represented, said that ignoring these precautions should result in Helis losing their permits.

The Times-Picayune reported that on Feb. 5, 2015, the St. Tammany Parish Council voted unanimously to increase its budget by $50,000 to help cover court costs in their ongoing lawsuit.

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