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Louisiana High Court Upholds Exploration Ruling

Louisiana Supreme Court

Fracking, which has garnered a great deal of controversy over the years, was the subject of a lawsuit in Louisiana, when the Louisiana Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal from the citizens group, Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany and St. Tammany Parish.

The group is opposed to a decision by the state’s commissioner of conservation to award a drilling permit to Helis Oil and Gas Company to drill an oil well near Lakeshore High School. One of the concerns raised over the well is the chance that activities at the well may include fracking. The parish had opposed the well.

The 4-3 decision by the Supreme Court to reject the case puts an end to a two-year legal battle in which the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a zoning ordinance in the parish banning industrial activity at the site had to be considered, but not followed by the state during the company’s application process.

Helis spokesman Greg Beuerman said that the company was pleased by the court’s decision and that it looks forward to “being responsible corporate neighbors and contributors to the parish’s quality of life.”

For its part, the Concerned Citizens stated that the decision disregards the constitutional principles for citizens, and awards privileges to companies. Concerned Citizens plans to ask the court reconsider the decision.

Helis plans to move a rig to the site this week, and drilling could start this month. The company plans to drill a 13,000-foot-deep vertical well. The company hopes to have the will drilled before school starts in August. After the well is drilled, Helis will collect and test samples to see if the formation could be a source of oil. If the area is viable, the company would then begin Phase 2, which would include fracking.

By Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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