A flurry of activity has developed in City Hall over the issuance of permits for hydraulic fracturing within Orleans Parish after a study revealed New Orleans is sitting on a pocket of natural resources previously undetected.
The study, conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey earlier this year after trace hydrocarbons were found during construction on Louisiana Avenue, concluded New Orleans looks to be in a highly lucrative position and could become an attractive location for energy companies.
“The rampant construction and current state of the roads throughout this city has given us unprecedented access to the valuable hydrocarbons discovered beneath New Orleans that can be used for gas, oil, lubricant that helps remove large, heavy nuisances and a number of other products,” said city Mineral Permitting Department spokesperson Jana Lowery in a phone interview with Neutral Ground News.
According to Lowery, the belief is that these new fracking projects will lead to more energy companies relocating to the city, ultimately adding jobs to the local economy. But the resources first have to be extracted from beneath both the public and private land for which the permits are currently being issued.
Grahs Energy of Henderson, Indiana has acquired the first of these permits and plans on beginning construction as soon as is possible.
In a statement received by NGN, Grahs stated:
“We are very excited to be a part of the renewal of New Orleans, and look forward to becoming a part of the intricate culture that makes this city unique. We would like to assure all residential and commercial property owners that any hydraulic fracturing that we undertake near or under their properties will be conducted in as unobtrusive a manner as is possible. We are proud to partner with the current city administration in returning the Oil Industry to Orleans Parish.”
Homeowners contacted by NGN about the possible impact fracking may have on their property have been almost universally negative.
“How can they do this to the very people who are paying taxes and, in some cases, renovating old, blighted properties for new use? I know the city is in dire need of money, but this goes too far,” said Sandra Richard of Esplanade Ridge.
Jana Lowery defended her department’s decision to begin issuing permits by saying, “It’s simple. We need money to restore our crumbling infrastructure, to continue providing world class city services, and to erect traffic cameras citywide.”