ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. - The countdown has begun to collect thousands of signatures in an effort to recall Parish President Pat Brister and the entire Parish Council.
The clock was started by a group who opposes a fracking project proposed to come to the Mandeville area.
Their effort was spawned by leadership, they say, isn't doing enough to keep fracking away from their homes and families.
"It just didn’t seem anything was going to go towards the situation at hand like to prevent fracking, like it is happening, there's no changing it,” said Leslie Guy, who filed a petition against the council. “So decided to exercise my right as a citizen and try to bring forth the change."
But Brister revealed, in an open letter posted on the parish website Monday eight different regulations she and the council are crafting right now.
The letter says the steps, which include water and air testing, traffic restrictions and limits on noise and working hours, are everything the law will allow them to do, locally. Many council members didn't want to comment on this story, but some did.
Marty Dean said while many people likely oppose fracking, he doesn't believe they are in favor of throwing away all of leadership.
Reid Falconer said he had no comment other than, “We’ll see what the people in my district desire.”
Richard Tanner said, “I think it’s unfortunate that its happening, but it’s part of the process. They certainly have the right to do that."
The petitions are not all the residents are working on.
Robert Fielder, who filed the petition against Brister, said, “The citizens are able to draft an initiative and have it signed by 10 percent of registered voters and the council has to act on it by either, A, pass it or, B, put it to a popular vote so I think along with the petitions. It’s a good tool to hold their feet to the fire even more."
We’re told by the Secretary of State’s Office that there appears to be an issue with the filing of the petitions on the council.
That’s because the petitioner has to be a registered voter in the district where they are trying to recall the leader. So that could mean a re-filing with 14 individual people, but those behind the effort say they’ll do whatever necessary to keep the effort alive.