What is fracking?
Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling are commonly used approaches to accessing oil and natural gas found in shale and other tight-rock formations, such as areas throughout Louisiana. The first experimental use of fracking occurred in 1947. Since then, there have been more than 1 million fracturing projects undertaken in the United States.
“Fracking” is currently being widely used in 11 different states to help produce the kind of energy sources that are making America truly energy independent. Fracking is already taking place in neighboring Tangipahoa Parish where local government officials and community leaders report no problems associated with the work, and significant positive economic impact.
The process of fracking involves the use of inert sand or ceramic material, water, and small volumes of government approved chemicals injected at high pressures to open shale rock and release the trapped oil and gases inside. Horizontal drilling (also called "directional drilling") is just like it sounds: after the well drill reaches a certain vertical depth in the ground, the well is then drilled horizontally.
Fracking creates small fractures (typically less than 1mm) along which fluids such as oil or gases such as natural gas travel to the well. Science demonstrates that at most, fracking fluids migrate approximately 200 upwards or 50 feet down from the created fissures. In the case of the Helis energy project in St. Tammany Parish, this still leaves a distance of approximately 9000 feet between any fluids and the aquifer (that’s 1.7 miles).