Jun 13, 2014|
Fracking an issue in St. Tammany. What's the latest from concerned citizens groups? Don was joined by Rick Franzo, President, Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany & Callie Caastevens, Environmental Attorney.
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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
This hour subject we've been on now for several weeks and it continues I'm talking about the big issue in saint Tammany parish that of fracking Ellis all company and land owner in saint Tammany has is going to -- -- -- To drill put in a fracking. Well actually -- its experimental well to find out if fracking is going to be feasible to doe but I think everybody will be on well on the -- based on the technology and information about that they probably will proceed with that. That has brought up a lot of controversy others in public hearings across the parish the saint Tammany parish government has gotten involved -- that has been some ordinances adopted has been some resolutions. There's been some legal. People brought in to discuss this. We have not yet been able to get a represented from held us all to come on the program. We did get sort of a positive. Indication this week that they may come on with me next Friday. I had sent them a list of about ten or fifteen questions that I wanted to ask of them in person if that wasn't possible to please send me the answers. So far no lock on that. I know they're concerned about. You know this is a very highly charged in emotional issue for some people. And I'm sure they're concerned and and I understand why they have not appeal made it public hearing in in in appeared tried to speak to the people because. It's just too emotional for that kind of a setting that. Certainly I assure them that you know we will hand them with the utmost of respect you instantly and he called as if they wanna take calls from listening audience. Which I would encouragement is not mandatory that they do that but if they would we certainly would demand that anyone that. Has any questions or comments about it do and and very respectful manner. Also other organizations involved in this one of them possibly leading to charges and -- is concerned citizens of saint Tammany. I would say probably the highest profile citizens on nonprofit community organization group that gets interested in. In protecting the interest of the saint Tammany parish residents Rick friends -- as president. Right from the very start. Jumped in on this and then went to the public hearings and -- and a lot of information I think when in very unbiased and as things have progressed a lot of questions have come up. I'm not a lot of dances possibly more questions and answers his organization is now starting to to get the ball rolling on some possible legal action. So we have invited -- to come back on and also his environmental attorney Cali cast Stephens is joining us to -- Rick and Kelli thanks for being witness. -- -- Rick if you would bring everyone up to date on the latest where the permit applications stands and what could possibly be in the way of. Well when they just give you quick announcement going to be the first ones -- here on -- legally the breaking news -- I don't know do at a period. And personal as you know we've been really building up resources on the legal front. We have a great team lawyer is now they're working with this including calacanis sequences in -- outstanding environmental attorney were kind of Hammond. And we've also actually you know would work with two lanes and loyal to my mental. People as well. We've now. Engaged and signed off on an agreement with the national organization called the community of alignment to legal defense fund. Which is really a big step they're involved with and these type issues all for the country. And now we've just engage in the pot without. So you can get -- -- count and it -- community environmental legal defense fund. And they have been volatile these type issues and involved with and developing. Bill writes -- -- and changing the way things have done in comparison to Whittle was destruction well certainly what we're gonna pot that would then looked at them and get help was Stamford. An immense array of legal expertise in the areas. I'm so we're kind of excited I think it's gonna offer us and another avenue to help in this process Holland. Hit -- five votes of privacy three organization. And so is it just basically from private donations go to -- I believe if funding government as well OK very -- models will be looking forward to their involvement in their input into it. Or Rick what can you update us on the latest on the situation. Well you know they don't float with the United Nations is coming -- -- on. Human disease you do you on the seventeenth which is actually. It is basically permitted which has to do it the land on his they have to know the full land -- in the and radius I think is a ten mile radius. And it just brings -- properties who's going to be involved with the royalties was involved with the process. And that so they have that that's the first step of the permit process and then from that point and they go for actual drilling permit. Which would take place with 3045 days later they'll move for that action. Week I don't want I typically what we do we are going to. We have some methods and strategies coming slowed. References. To both of these atrocities. Like -- get more at that but we can we don't you know again on legal side yet and the idea of anything in my experiences that -- with legal. Battles you have to keep that close he chest. And you don't wanting people to pull off some of the things that you look at sample we. Involved in a lot of different things and and have. Resources. Going in different directions and seeing what can be done and how to do it and and we have certain things in place rate ago. So what we're we're good we -- looking good right now Rick. Away I -- always seen this is this issue is really it it it kind of has two fronts on on the opposition one would be. Certainly the risk vs the reward how has it is is it what is the latest data shall on this technology. Oh with a single source -- for system you know what what's at stake here as far as danger at the element of danger and the other one is. Simply put. Do should the citizens of saint Tammany parish have the right. To keep and maintain their own brand by brand I mean when you think of saint Tammany parish the image that comes to mind most people -- a familiar with the -- It's is pretty much a bedroom community it's known for its natural resources is by use its its its piney woods. It's a great tourist spot it's not hall of any type of industry there. As opposed to when you think of say look foolish plaque -- saint John's saint James when I think of those parishes. The most marriages -- energy sources you know the oil and gas on they have a lot of plants along the river. And that's that's their brand that's what they do saint Tammany parish is different it's more on residential it's more on tourism maybe retirement senators. And a good quality of life and I think just on that basis that there's an argument made there. That we really don't wanna become a parish where there -- a lot of trucks and a lot of players and in wells in in in movement and activity going on with the production of oil and gas I don't think that's on race it. Not only -- -- point is well made an idea via latest that he would I feel my hot and you know as an. I would tell you we have a board of 22 people and on and bullet I think we have. 21 Republican servers and one Democrat. Registered Democrat. And then and then out the it would you hear an immediate sale you know these little left wing is and that's when -- don't want is that at this and that's. This is not about Republican -- and it's not about race not about religion it's about quality line -- and I am -- and in this week I know the American Petroleum Institute was in town and I know they've been on radio and -- how wonderful everything and help. Perfect it is and how they don't have problems. And you and we all know that this America actually is do is to listen to hide guns of the oil industry. You know then they -- to promote what they want and they all it's only about deposit and you could see them on television these days the last couple months they both. Keep on popping in the news commercials about how wonderful it is and how perfect everything -- but listen. That's all propaganda and that marketing and that's what they can try to do. On and I don't get me wrong this stuff on the other side of the coin to that it equally sometimes crazy. But we're trying to focus on the legal aspect and I think you hit a very good point. Where's that where's -- defined way you can put. The rights of the citizens that live in communion below that of business or -- government -- oil. And particularly oil. A company. How could they have more rights than the citizens that live in the community in this committee is what are biggest problems I have. And also they have in fact it was also tackle for a. You know these people come in town and there on the radios and as saying it's safe safe safe but you know they killed as he did not -- community. You know in Louisiana -- looked at -- it'll be at Louisiana don't worry about it you know I think let's. Same note it is nonsense you know -- California do let Florida do that these states that. That deal -- -- -- to let them drill they don't want Israel right in the backyard because they had beautiful so why it was Louisiana dedicate all of this. Leo at saint Tammany parishes to beautiful place for Louisiana and you mean we know its schedule of Louisiana. Why -- we -- -- when these oil companies detail with these wells we have 6009000. -- -- in Paris. It's gonna look disaster look like pull off that's gonna look like Corpus Christi. Kamal we get in this has to stop and we need leadership in saint Tammany parish. That actually really wants to try to do something and I an obvious that it's not there. And so that's what we're taking the lead on this. And we're gonna do we -- to stop and I believe we have the resources notably we have to know -- I think what is clear path to -- -- always goes back to. Federal constitution the state constitution. The local home -- Which clearly defines. And that. They are required to protect. They held the safety and welfare of the citizens and they deal and that's including a local government. If our elected officials decide not to -- that track will -- replace them they were about liability consumer analysts. Given -- about politely. That day opening itself up to a class action lawsuit from the citizens think and the parents for not protecting. The rights. That's of the citizens that they was sworn duty to uphold and to protect. This hours thinking about the fracking issue in saint Tammany parish -- economy recovering the name Rick friends though. President of concerned citizens of saint Tammany is with -- -- and also -- can Stevens whose environmental attorney. Working with the concerned citizens group Mike Kelly thank you for taken atomic talked with -- us. I don't care if you would tell us -- basically what you see that the role as in representing concerned citizens is this something where you would. Com approached the of the state the office of conservation. And basically tell them look we're going to be watching the permanent if this is going to be done let's make sure all the safeguards in place. On May be even goal above and beyond what the basic permit requires given his latest reports that the state is. Has failed in its mission to provide enough inspectors in regulators to keep track of the wells -- already there. Or basically will you be looking to say we're looking for an outright ban -- Well and things and albeit. We're not counting any -- legally order politically. To pay and an environmental law many legal angle that we can that we can't play. The issue is throughout that time you're talent that letter after letter and really accurately saying that you know their record her -- there are -- say. And approach and Tony Harris and that anger. Kinda yeah trade guarantee rocket -- that yet and completely and that the ball and looking at your background. -- track record even and believe he let an era. There were cited for over fifteen quietly and very. -- They'll protection control countermeasure claim and complaint that -- -- and they were. Given generic form patent action corps statement happening way too over the army -- are currently. That they -- -- 121000 dollars and July are there any. And going back here before. -- -- putting and that company's. Current. And the administrator. Put that bat he actually wanted to turn Kate -- at -- attorney general. So it that that won't mind races at your concern at other -- -- harmony. The Hindu -- concern and turn. The old or uncle or. In Maine which has not been attacked by -- -- anybody. Should be done has not been done and arm and all. It is better or armed men under the national all active. And it looked at several factors and the reason why on -- at me the pain or. I edit any here's countless so important. As one of the factors that any day in our. -- and -- others aren't. So that's why on. Double it sort -- sent me we would like them not. Ignore important -- completely. That you have the power or you at. That they are you dad actually got a problem. And -- the issue. Our current and the fire department in me has confirmed. That they would be able to act -- -- explosion tired. At the resource in targeting capturing. And hearing and that it down. There and companies utilized. Out of the chemical which are -- aren't here yet and apply. Secret yeah ingredient in Coca-Cola they don't happen that aren't. So how is it art department or even seen the poster remedy any possible if she high. It appeared there. Even -- patent issues that are mentioned it and and -- And and that -- it'll make the public aware of some issues that are. -- I didn't hear it hear it in -- to bankrupt. Let them out my old. That and other your concern. You know unfortunate is that not a stranger. To having. An. Like I think everybody -- right now remember he. We had to buy coal. It seem like year after year there are significant and currently. An army and me. And one and that that's concerning about it. -- -- And the -- and cheap out and handed out -- -- we're part of 300. Yet activated. It had to -- recently -- the actual act well. It contaminated RT IQ. I well and also endangered beer drinking water or what you believe. What we're. Shouldn't thinking you know we've been -- and we're not in the state teacher. And we can't. Say that we Egypt are. A partner. And then what does that say forcing him here switched again I think the old course drinking partner. I don't -- back the potential for. Under out you. The debate and register it -- that way he. And I think that are being. About it. Kelly I have heard. Discussions scuttlebutt from my neighbors and saint Tammany parish that you know this this deal is done it's never going to be able to be stopped. Is it gonna come down to the issue of whether the community has the right to determine its own -- Or does the land don't have the right to use his property. For economic gain in the I think that's probably what it's gonna come down to and people thinking well oil company in the -- don't got tons and tons of financial resources. When it comes to environmental defense. Do you think the funding will be there will it fall short another parish is always very hesitant -- -- an issue comes up and they say well. We could stop about trying to stop -- -- then they would turn around and sue us and we don't have the money -- that we'd lose anyways so we're gonna go and pass it what does that look like financially. And a defense likeness. Why clearing out a happy married used it to hand the companies in the air do you have tremendous -- sources. At the thing I. Mean in terms of legal committee for parents that it -- I've been biting problem we're not taking. And term. We would take. It is important and she. -- term liability in terms that appeared. They have. Now today. That -- inner -- achieved. Claiming that it didn't need them. And on the court the -- -- their permit and played. -- -- -- -- -- -- At that point they are legally implement. It -- -- -- -- -- absolutely. There -- other legal mechanism complaint that technically. I like the talk earlier. Batman. And and that the federal. On the UK talent that work for extracting. And now you know I shouldn't. Rely on their need to -- an error in outrage and the yen at that are required. You know injecting it weakened. And it and it. Right in terms. What while water contamination ground water and air. On the can change even name one -- just want to. I would never -- an active manner and it recorded and there. On -- maybe we actually have mr. gently. -- in our lives act lawyer he tracked it -- -- by what he -- And he said. That. Entering that -- years -- -- on here and eat it. Throughout -- years fact that in the 88. It's typically dealing with -- An accident happened and exactly like me -- here and I want and because you mentioned earlier and you hit around. In Miami. And it is -- Nature. Unique it is. Extremely important. In fact she appeared hack. These -- and he's. And they're here in the state. And again and other people that can -- and out -- -- -- -- And I'm hopeful that he has many. May not nearly. And in terms of Greek port. You have. Been willing to work crow about. On that issue and we have been doing that -- -- Kelli tell me about disorganization at -- Announced partnership with the community environmental legal defense fund if you work with them in the past and what do you think they will provide. Well but have not worked with them. But I can't their word and our phenomenal group -- the -- you don't mind the lack -- that your the question and that the ethnic on the court and. OK Rick president of are concerned citizens of saint Tammany what is it track record what have they accomplished in the past that they can count of come highly recommend at all. Well -- attract cricket is quite impressive and they really assembled quite keen. Legal expertise. And they then. Not -- fracking is only one aspect of involvement. Around the country that involve a lot of different issues. And it it it it typically represent hope -- isn't organizations. And typically the course of the cost of legal battles and hiring attorneys in this so -- organizations like -- -- how much more depth in wider range of resource is. And also and at no -- as well. So it is the big advantage for us. They have a proven track racquet around the country. And as to where we're really excited about it we think it can really help -- there and there's going to be involved in the big action. We're working on Al legal aspects which will also control with them against him there -- but we will -- we make the decisions on. What we do on on on a local level on dealing with the -- Particularly. There's going to be helping us in kindness and on the big level with the with the bill of rights issue changing. The real bullets in this parish and in this state. That give rights greater rights to oil companies over that at the citizens that live in communities. And that's with been successful and that's where they can focus on and we're going to be partnering with him on that process which may take longer than the process that we're fighting now. Com but -- Goes process on going to be joined in on the hip. So one will complement the other. And so we're excited about it you know and I think -- -- -- great point and and in and that's what we pushed really strong but the list parish council meeting we actually. And gave -- introduced to the council. And ordinances. -- -- a note trailing oh ordinance for saint Tammany parish. And we will hope they would bring it off the floor and and and and put in place booklets and again. And -- point well made it it would be better. If we can get the council to adopt this alone and get in place for permit is granted. And because it really would. Change the dynamic of the battle. That don't follow it and and now the question is whether or not it will take this stance -- -- but even if they don't. And Kelly defined as a lot of other illegal. Every news that we looking and and and addressing in a practical followed with -- but this certainly would be a major obstacle for the oil companies if in fact we can get people in this place -- -- a commitment. Rick -- this organization obviously going to be working with. He's concerned citizens in representing the concerned citizens of saint Tammany wouldn't be unusual for them to. Represented and -- their resources to a collective body of governmental body like. They have done had they done and as well -- -- organizations. Representing ms. municipalities around the country. And and where they don't have the deep pockets to defend themselves or change things and. They've done government as well they represented. So they have a tremendous resource and background. And it looks like about it. Do you think it might be duplication for them to lend their resources to the parish government as well as. This won't do at this point time you know we're trying to as you know which went -- with the Irish government run effect I have a meeting on Monday night with some of the parish council we have this legal -- team that they hide from blue -- is going to be attending a meeting. That was holding et Al. One of our conference room areas. And we're going to be mean when -- legal team with is in the tournament councilman has. And trying to and bring their relationship together what we can fight this together. Com and does so we're hoping it goes in that direction. They came to us and independence and -- parish council meeting. At the end and wanting to discuss. How hole and what we've done and we were -- how we possibly can work together. Com but there again that goes back to their concern is they have to attorneys that have no experience in the in this particular area of the industry. I'll keep on country an exploit in saint then. No no it liability liability -- we can't we -- and adopted ordinance we can't do this we can't do that. And and obviously we've seen that the president president -- in the position of you know we can't do anything away flag. And with that. Position being played it's going to be difficult road. In terms of -- tabulating -- that the council will -- but wouldn't try to educate to council and explain to our real viable options to stop this. And if we get counsel the Pope mobile with us it certainly going to be a and an advantage going to follow it but if not. We're still going to go -- because we know we have the resources and the and and the organization to do so. Inflammation in his issue is is crucial. Com and we've been getting a lot of that but we've been getting his lack of it from held assault company had you reached out to them yet again to try to have a meeting with them my explain the position here at the station and we may or may not be able to get them on next week. But have you been successful in sitting down with them in and trying to get some chances to an awful lot of questions. No I -- we have and I -- -- commission lists and you know we've we move we've seen that they haven't they've had a lot of opportunities to come follow it. Whether it's at them before the council chambers before public meetings. And even you dealt in the and radio station I can help have been trying to get in the come -- they're not going to -- on the spotlight. On the spotlight question is going to be and that they can't answer hosting an answer because I beat Clinton in a lie or trap. So if I don't think this epidemic among opportunity in the gets some printed statement that's gonna come slowly and that's going to be rail line item that the gonna. I frequent we're gonna have to break -- -- update it very quickly give out the website concerned citizens because -- -- an awful lot of information of people would like due to learn and keep up with this issue one. Yes it's it says the seat he. As TP Donald is -- web site. And put you to follow it more lightly on the on the on the FaceBook site was just look for consensus saint Tammany. On FaceBook and that kinda gets more current stuff but the web site and also for donations and membership visits TC FTP. Dot. Thanks very much Rick and Kelli thank you to appreciative look forward to on next visit.