Fracking In St. Tammany, Public Hearing Tonight
MANDEVILLE, LA — A public hearing on Helis Oil & Gas Co.'s application to drill a fracking well in St. Tammany Parish will be held tonight at 5:00 p.m., at Lakeshore High School, located at 26301 Louisiana Highway 1088, in Mandeville.
The Department of Natural Resources is holding the hearing at Lakeshore’s gym after getting requests from the activist group Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany and the town of Abita Springs.
During the hearing, both sides will be allowed to call witnesses, present evidence and cross-examine each other's witnesses. Members of the public also will be given an opportunity to speak before the staff from the Office of Conservation.
Opponents say the permit will allow fracking within 2 miles of Lakeshore High School and has the potential to create 6,000 – 8,000 drilling wells across St. Tammany Parish that will puncture through the area’s aquifer to depths between 12,000 – 13,000 feet.
David A. Kerstein, the president of Helis Oil & Gas Co., released a statement pledging to explore for oil and gas “with environmental excellence and an acute sensitivity to the community each and every day.”
Helis says they have successfully executed 60 similar fracturing projects around the U.S. and operate 100 other wells in Louisiana.
No decision will be made at this final hearing but the Commissioner of Conservation is expected to issue a decision on the drilling permit in the future.