Decisions from the 22nd and 19th Judicial Districts dismissed separate lawsuits from The Town of Abita Springs and St. Tammany Parish related to Hydraulic Fracturing permitting and zoning ordinances in St. Tammany Parish. According to Parish President Pat Brister, “Local decisions are always the most efficient and effective way to govern. However, the Court has ruled that State permitting laws have precedence over our local comprehensive zoning ordinances. The court has given us an answer about where State’s authority ends and where St. Tammany’s began.” – www.stpgov.org
More accurately, the ruling gives the answer that the State’s authority is inarguable, and that St. Tammany has no authority in the matter. There is no point in having a Home Rule Charter if it cannot protect the community from oppressive State laws. Months ago, a representative of the Department of Natural Resources related to this writer that they understood the concerns over hydraulic fracturing, and that if the law was changed at the state level, they would be happy to enforce it.
Helis Oil and Gas Company is from Texas and is one of the companies named in a lawsuit that Governor Jindal killed last year, against the recommendation of State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. If this company was irresponsible enough to garner a lawsuit over coastal operations that the industry lobbied to eliminate, that casts a shadow on their credibility and reliability for future projects. The volunteers at Fracking 101 have comprehensive, substantiated information, including the 2014 report from the LA State Legislative Auditor’s Office naming all orphaned and abandoned sites in the state.
While the Parish Government accepts that they have no right to self-determination, Mandeville Mayor Villere calls a dog poop law a “Gestapo” law. People should be responsible for their own animals without more laws, and a community has a right to object to and/or bar an entity from entering said community.
The St. Tammany Libertarian PEC advocates for bills that are liberty related. How about a bill to get rid of this poor legislation that allows regulation-ignoring industries to trump the rights of tax-paying citizens that are ultimately shouldering a portion of the cost of the operations and mitigation? Even Governor Jindal has adopted the term “corporate welfare”. The Libertarians also support the Industrial Hemp Industry as a viable economic solution, just like the great state of Kentucky, home to the whiskey of which early Covington officials were so fond.
by Timothy Gates, Covington Weekly Correspondent – 985.288.9609