Blown Out Well Operated without Parish Permit

Joseph Landry

The Issue: The Assumption Parish Police Jury appeared shocked to be facing several issues about the blown out oil well on last Wednesday, during the Engineering Committee Meeting chaired by Irving Comeaux, Police Juror Ward Three.

      1. Several jurors expressed dissatisfaction and an unwillingness to approve an after-the-fact permit for the blown out oil well. That means that the oil company was operating without a parish permit.

         2. Henry Dupre. Police Juror Ward Seven, was visibly angry at knowing that the oil well blew out operating without a parish permit also caused neighboring residents of the site to be evacuated, and caused travelers in the region to detour via an 8-mile stretch of curvy, substandard roadway.

         3. Several Jurors, including Henry Dupre, expressed disbelief that this same company wanted to apply for another permit to begin drilling another well in the vicinity.  “The people of this community haven’t had a breather from the first well and now you want to drill a second one,” Dupre said expressing his concern.      

What’s Happening: On Wednesday evening, with the clock approaching 5:20 p.m, the line item to approve an after the fact permit for the Mantle oil well was at the bottom of the agenda on the Engineering Committee Meeting at the Assumption Parish Police Jury on Wednesday August 25, 2010.

Aaron C. Landry, Fugro Geospatial Services, did not have a chance to get to the podium before all hell broke loose at the meeting. As Irving Comeaux, Chairperson for the Committee, finished reading the agenda item the jurors, including Comeaux, began voicing unbelief at the matter at hand.

Irving Comeaux was not too pleased with the actions of the company, demanding why the permit had not been applied for and also demanding that the jury seek a legal opinion on whether or not the jury was obligated to approve the permit and what could be done to keep the well from operating.  After discussions ended the motion was put on the floor to table the agenda item until the next meeting at which time the jury would receive a legal opinion on the matter.

 For the second item concerning the oil rig the request for a permit for the drilling of the relief well was put before the jury. Irving Comeaux wanted to stop that too, he basically wanted to not issue the permit until the jury received a legal opinion. Henry Dupre disagreed saying that this was to make the bottom kill on the well. Jeff “Big Daddy” Naquin, Police Juror Ward 2, said that he felt it was necessary and made a motion to approve and the jury did approve the permit for the relief well.

On the final measure, for the same company, the request was for approval to drill another well. Henry Dupre got visibly angry saying, “No, I can’t see approving this when the people of that area haven’t even had a breather from the first one”

What’s next: The Assumption Parish Police Jury is seeking a legal opinion as to its legal capability of not issuing an after-the-fact permit to Mantle Oil, LLC.  The jury is also seeking legal opinion on the second proposed oil well and also wants to question whether or not it can stop the drilling by not issuing a permit.  The jury is also interested in learning what will happen if a permit is not granted to the oil company. More on that and other questions the jury is throwing into the pile of questions already posed concerning the blown out oil well near Paincourtville.