Environmental Lawyers Serving De Soto Parish
On September 7, 2018 the State of Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources declared an emergency in De Soto Parish. In the emergency report, natural gas was detected in the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer in De Soto Parish. It is believed that gas may have migrated into aquifers that serve De Soto Parish. Several companies have been implicated by the report. While it isn’t clear which company might be directly responsible for the presence of natural gas in the De Soto Parish aquifer, it is suspected that one or more of the companies might be responsible. The Department of Natural Resources of the State of Louisiana has further noted that natural gas deposits and sands shallower than the Midway Shale and natural gas deposits in the aquifer have the potential to harm people, the environment, property, and other groups. Several companies have been ordered to provide written reports of investigations performed into their wells and have also been asked to provide additional information that could aid investigators in determining the source of the natural gas intrusion. In the report, several companies were named, including: Comstock Oil & Gas, LLC, Covey Park Gas, LLC, Indigo Minerals, LLC, Nelson Energy, Inc., and XTO Energy, Inc.
In updated emergency reports, Nelson Energy, Inc. on October 11, 2018 was cited by the Department of Natural Resources as having two wells that were plugged and then abandoned by the company. The Department of Natural Resources asked the company to evaluate these wells to determine whether they may have played a role in the entry of natural gas into the De Soto parish aquifer.
In a report released by the Department of Natural Resources on October 23, 2018, Indigo Minerals, LLC was asked to conduct further investigation to determine whether faults exist in the area of investigation, and whether these faults could be contributing to the presence of natural gas in the aquifer. On November 2, 2018, Indigo Minerals, LLC responded to the request that it conduct further investigation. In its response, the company declared that “seismic data existed covering an area of over 1800 square miles in northwest Louisiana…” and this data was accepted as an appropriate response and no further seismic data was requested. Finally, the other companies named in the report were also asked to provide a “written description of all data, information, reports, and/or materials that they may have possession of, or have access to . . .”
This case is continuing to unfold. It has been reported on by KTBS and KTBS notes that benzene has been detected in water samples of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, and that this substance can pose a risk to human health. The news reports indicate that at least 50 people are suing, alleging that their properties have become polluted due to activities related to oil and gas exploration and extraction. Fifteen oil companies have been named in the complaint, including Exxon Mobil.
Suing oil and natural gas companies for natural gas pollution can be complex. The geology of the region where the natural gas has been detected is known for the presence of natural gas. The big question is whether the pollution is coming from a deeper shale source and is the result of natural processes or if the natural gas is contaminating the environment due to recent drilling and exploration activities. While companies might claim that the intrusion of natural gas is part of a natural process, there have been recent reports of blown wells, abandoned wells, and other issues. Companies have put in vents to lower the pressure in some of these wells, but when pressure rises in these wells, gas may need a way to escape. When this happens, gas can enter the aquifer. Investigators are working diligently to identify the pathway of the natural gas and to hold culprits responsible. Different companies have also taken action to plug wells and drill relief water wells to alleviate pressure on existing wells.
Property owners in the affected area have had their lives impacted. Some have been subject to mandatory evacuations for their safety. Other property owners are deeply concerned about the safety of their water. If you are a property owner in De Soto Parish and have concerns about the safety of your water and have concerned about your land being contaminated, you are not alone. Already several land owners are considering suing natural gas companies in the area and others have already begun to pursue lawsuits. Stag Liuzza is an environmental law firm that serves De Soto Parish that may be able to assist you. If your land has been impacted by fracking and natural gas activity in De Soto Parish, you may have the right to fight back and take action. Contact Stag Liuzza today.
Our physical office is located in New Orleans, however, we service clients throughout the state of Louisiana and nation wide.