Natalie Shepherd / Eyewitness News
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MANDEVILLE, La. -- A proposed fracking project on the Northshore is gaining more opponents.

Tuesday, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation released its study on fracking, and it supports delaying any projects indefinitely.

The foundation's executive director said its impact on the environment is unclear.

Concerned citizens on the Northshore have made their opinions known. They've held protests and packed meetings to voice their concerns over a proposed fracking site near the Mandeville area.

Now the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation is stepping into the controversial waters.

'It is part of our basin. It is part of our constituency,' said Dr. John Lopez, executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. 'We've been getting a lot of calls and emails about people who are very concerned about this.'

Earlier this month, Helis Oil and Gas agreed to take samples from a vertical well and study whether fracking is economically feasible.

But Lopez said the project may be moving too quickly. The foundation's goal is to preserve water quality and the coasts of the Pontchartrain Basin. He doesn't want to see mistakes made that could be regretted for decades down the road

'We do think some time is needed,' he said. 'We think it will allow, frankly, a certain amount of cool off. People are excited about this and understandably so. It's kind of an unknown situation.'

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited Louisiana's Port Fourchon on Tuesday.

'We are working with the companies to continue to minimize environmental footprints,' Moniz said.

When asked about fracking, he couldn't speak to the Northshore proposal specifically, but he believes the federal government is taking the right steps to minimize the environmental impact of fracking projects.

'So we believe, when all is said and done, it is challenging but it is manageable,' he said.

Many communities on the Northshore aren't convinced. The Slidell City Council was expected to vote Tuesday on a resolution to prohibit fracking.

Abita Springs has officially opposed it. The St. Tammany Parish Council and the city of Mandeville support delaying the project.

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