Proposed state Haynesville Shale rules at odds with local

Updated: May. 21, 2009 at 6:12 PM CDT
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By Carolyn Roy - bio|email

CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Office of Conservation has proposed new rules for regulation exploration and production of natural gas in urban areas the Haynesville Shale, but local governments are concerned those rules are not as strict as their own proposed regulations. Both Caddo and Bossier have been working on those regulations since last February, basing them in part on similar ordinances passed in Fort Worth and Tarrant County where local governments have dealt with urban drilling in the Barnett Shale for the past several years.

"The state has used the ordinance that we've prepared as their source document but they haven't gone nearly as far in protecting private citizens from the effects of the drilling," says Caddo Parish Attorney Charles Grubb.  "We think that it is deficient in some areas." At a hearing Thursday night at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport, Grubb planned to ask the state to tighten up the Proposed Order for Haynesville Zone E&P Operations in Urban Areas.  "We think it leaves too much of the parish totally unregulated.  I mean we don't want to do anything to inhibit drilling up here, it's a blessing to everybody that's come. But the citizens that live in the homes in the areas are entitled to have quiet, peaceful possession of their property."

Grubb says not just about peace, but the protecting the public's safety.  The proposed parish rules include a call for 24-hour emergency reporting to local authorities.  The

Office of Conservation's draft Order removed that requirement.  "We don't understand why there'd be an objection to a requirement the industry notify the local sheriff whenever there's an incident."

Grubb says another major issue is hours of operation. While drilling is a 24 hour operation, well-servicing activity is not, and Grubb says the parish rules deal with that where the state's do not. "We have some hours of operation that are reflective of what they agreed to Texas. The commissioner's proposal basically is much more friendly to the industry in that way.  There are also differences in the regulation of trash and noise from drilling operations.

Office of Conservation Commissioner James Welsh is expected to make a decision about the proposed Haynesville Shale regulations by the end of June.

Those who were unable to attend Thursday's public hearing can e-mail or write to the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Office of Conservation:

Louisiana Department of Natural Resources
Office of Conservation
Attn: Haynesville Shale regulations
P.O. Box 94275
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9275


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