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Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The first step in the permitting process for a proposed fracking well in St. Tammany Parish began in Baton Rouge Tuesday morning.

At the same time, word spread that the special attorney's hired by the St. Tammany Parish Council filed an injunction in state court Monday night against the Office of Conservation, which held Tuesday's hearing, and that oversees the state's drilling process.

At the hearing, Helis Oil and Gas presented its case for unitization approval.

Development of the unit, which is where the well will be drilled, sets up protections for potential royalties for land and mineral rights owners who are allowing the company to operate.

About a dozen St. Tammany residents spoke against the plan after a geologist and a Helis representative were questioned by the commission.

The only comment from the company's representative was asking the board to only consider the details of the application.

The commission will not be making a decision on the unit Tuesday and a representative tells Eyewitness News that it could be as many as 30 days until a decision is made.

But that could change depending on the details of the injunction lawsuit. The Department of Natural Resources says wording will determine whether the process is put on hold where it stands Tuesday, or not until it gets to the actual drilling permit part of the process.

Eyewitness News expects to obtain the lawsuit later Tuesday afternoon to get those details.

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