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Nov 12, 2014 10:31 PM

'Vampire Diaries' star opposes proposed fracking

The Associated Press

MANDEVILLE, La. (AP) Ian Somerhalder, star of The CW series "Vampire Diaries," has publicly shown his opposition to a proposal to set up a fracking well in St. Tammany Parish.

Somerhalder attended a public meeting Wednesday at Lakeshore High School, where many in the crowd waved signs against fracking, Nola.com/The Times-Picayune reported (http://bit.ly/1tJ2CNU ).

Somerhalder's presence "could explain why there are more teen-agers at this meeting than at earlier meetings" about the proposal by Helis Oil & Gas Co., a reporter wrote in a comment to an earlier story, posted as live coverage.

During a break to fix feedback on the school's public address system, the actor showed teens a poster about hydraulic fracturing a technique that injects high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel, and chemicals to extract oil and gas from rock.

The well, if approved, would be set up about 1,800 feet from Interstate 12 and about 1.2 miles from the school, said Helis representative Bill Dale, the evening's first speaker.

He and two other experts speaking for Helis took nearly two hours, including about 10 minutes to fix the sound system.

Attorney Lisa Jordan, representing the town of Abita Springs, spent about 30 minutes cross-examining the three witnesses, The New Orleans Advocate (http://bit.ly/1yB5lwY) reported. She asked repeatedly if they planned to put their claims into a "legally enforceable document." None of the three witnesses is a Helis employee, and none would answer.

The town and Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany, a leader of opposition to the plan, had asked the state's Office of Conservation to hold the hearing. Nobody connected to Wednesday's hearing could remember a previous hearing by the office on a permit request, The Advocate reported.

Some people in the crowd hissed when the company's second speaker, Adam Bourgoyne a retired dean of Louisiana State University's engineering school said Helis had chosen a good, safe site, Nola.com ' The Times Picayune reported.

John Connor, a geotechnical and environmental engineer for a consulting company, said the well would use about 5 million gallons of water from a private pond.

Some people in the crowd shouted when Connor said fracking chemicals "absolutely can't" get into groundwater through the well's triple barrier of pipes and casing.

While an attorney for the nearby town of Abita Springs questioned Dale, someone in the crowd yelled that the long presentation seemed like a filibuster.

Helis finished its presentation shortly afterward.


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