May 2, 2014 9:39 AM by AP (MGN Online)
The St. Tammany Parish Council has voted to hire an outside attorney to determine the parish's ability to control drilling and hydraulic fracturing activity in the parish.
The council also introduced an ordinance Thursday designed to help protect the parish's roads and bridges from being damaged by oil drilling operations.
The council was reacting to Helis Oil Co.'s proposal to use the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking method, to extract oil and gas from a large shale deposit near Mandeville.
NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports many parish residents and some public officials have expressed strong opposition to the project, citing concerns about possible pollution to the air, soil and the aquifer that supplies St. Tammany with drinking water.