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Helis Oil & Gas to begin St. Tammany fracking project

COVINGTON, La. (AP) — Helis Oil & Gas is set to begin drilling on an exploratory well for a proposed fracking project near Mandeville.

Media outlets report project manager Mike Barham says the company plans to begin moving a 100-foot-tall drilling rig onto the site on June 29.

Barham says once the rig is in place, the drilling is expected to last about 30 days. The project’s first phase involves drilling a 13,000-foot-deep vertical well.

The announcement comes as the Louisiana Supreme Court considers whether to hear an appeal from St. Tammany Parish and a citizens group against the project.

Some residents and officials say the drilling could pollute the air, the ground, and the aquifer that supplies St. Tammany with drinking water.

Helis officials have said they’ll drill safely and safeguard the environment.

In related news, St. Tammany’s zoning laws can’t override state authority.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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