Federal and state agencies have expressed concerns about the impact of potential development in St. Tammany Parish that could help justify local efforts to prohibit fracking in the area. From WWLTV, a New Orleans CBS affiliate:
“The Environmental Protection Agency, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and Army Corps of Engineers expressed concerns about the proposed site and its potential impact on the wetlands in a letter to Helis Oil and Gas.
‘Their concerns have to be addressed before we move forward with a permit. We look to them for their expertise,’ said Ricky Boyett, Army Corps of Engineers spokesman.”
The letter calls for Helis to examine the impact of drilling in the parish, explore alternative sites for development and take steps to minimize any potential ecological damage caused by the project. Only when these steps have been completed will the corps consider approving the building of the project. The corps is also considering holding a hearing with the Department of Environmental Quality to assure that the project will not have a harmful impact on water quality.
Meanwhile, Helis is creating a response to the letter that it hopes will address the concerns of the corps’ review:
“It is my understanding that as a result of an earlier meeting with the corps we made adjustments in our well pad location as they recommended. Still, we will continue to work with them to ensure that their requests are fully understood and factored into our plans,” said Helis spokesman Greg Beuerman in a statement to WWLTV.