Louisiana Judge Refuses to Expedite St. Tammany’s Fracking Ban Lawsuit

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Louisiana Judge Refuses to Expedite St. Tammany’s Fracking Ban LawsuitA Louisiana state judge at Baton Rouge threw out a request by St. Tammany Parish expedite the scheduled Oct. 27 hearing for its case that wants fracking in the parish blocked.

An online filing at the 19th Judicial District Clerk of Court showed that Judge William Morvant refused to expedite the case on Tuesday, Sept. 16 and reiterated the lawsuit will be heard on Oct. 27 as set. The judge’s ruling was confirmed by a state Department of Natural Resources spokesman, reported The Times-Picayune.

Reid Falconer, the St. Tammany Parish Council Chairman, was unavailable for a comment on Friday. Councilman Jake Groby, a fierce anti-fracking activist, said that he wasn’t aware of the judge’s ruling and refused to comment.

The parish authorities had filed the request to have the hearing expedited on Sept. 12, just two days after New Orleans-based oil firm Helios Oil & Gas Co. said it had submitted an application for a drilling license from Office of Conservation at the state Department of Natural Resources. Helios plans to drill a well in the area to the northeast of Mandeville and extract the oil using the controversial technique of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing.

St. Tammany’s residents have opposed the project, fearing possible air, water and soil pollution, especially damage to an aquifer that is the only water source for the parish. However, Helios insisted that it will take further actions beyond what it is supposed to do as per the law in order to conserve the environment.

The parish authorities say that its zoning laws block any oil and natural gas drilling at the site, and therefore the parish government is legally able to pass a law banning fracking. The lawsuit also states that the Office of Conservation is poorly-equipped to control further oil drilling activities in Louisiana. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com