Opponents to the creation of a deep water injection saltwater disposal well off Highway 35 have gone to court to overturn the granting of a permit by the Louisiana Office of Conservation to LA Tank, L.L.C. of Lake Charles.
The Petition for Judicial Review was filed Wednesday, Jan. 9, in the 19th Judicial District Court of East Baton Rouge Parish.
Listed as petitioners are Gilbert and Florence Gossen, and Donald Gossen, owners of property neighboring the proposed injection well site, Wilma Subra, and H&J Gossen Properties, L.L.C.and , which owns land and engages in farming around the proposed well. Subra is identified as a citizen “who works and recreates in Acadia Parish in and around the proposed site’s location.”
Named in the suit are James H. Welsh, commissioner of the Office of Conservation in the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and LA TANK, L.L.C.
Because of the legal challenge, the Court has stayed the effectiveness of DNR’s order issued Nov. 15, 2012, which approved the permit to construct and operate an exploration and production waste fluid disposal facility until final resolution of the appeal.
The lawsuit cites the Louisiana Constitution, and Supreme Court and Circuit Court of Appeal decisions regarding the necessity of protecting and conserving Louisiana’s natural resources.
Further, the petition argues DNR did not consider alternatives that would offer more environmental protection, mitigating measures or cost-benefit analysis.
The legal challenge also contends the proposed injection well violates a provision of the Louisiana Administrative Code, which prohibits the location of such a facility “within ¼ mile of a public water supply water well or within 1,000 feet of a private water supply well.”
Citing DNR’s own response to public comments made during a hearing held July 12, 2012, in the Mural Room of the Rayne Civic Center, the petitioners note one of five wells examined by a conservation inspector was “an active private water well and is located less than 1,000 feet from the proposed site.” Identified as active in the lawsuit is a well owned by Hilman G. Nolan, Sr.
The inspector determined one of the other four wells “never existed” and that wells of Bonnie Lynn Cary, Donald Borges and Carolyn Bertrand were “properly plugged and abandoned.”
The plaintiffs are represented by Attorney Charley Hutchens of Lafayette.
The case has been assigned to Civil Court Judge Janice Clerk. A court date has not been yet set.