Oil and gas exploration in Vernon Parish is on the rise, as is evidenced by issues taken up by the Vernon Parish Police Jury Monday morning.


Oil and gas exploration in Vernon Parish is on the rise, as is evidenced by issues taken up by the Vernon Parish Police Jury Monday morning.
First was consideration of a request from Petro-Land Resources, Inc. to nominate parish-owned lands in the southwestern part of the parish for lease. Second, the jury adopted an ordinance to revise its policies concerning permits for pipeline crossings, dredging and oil, gas and mineral exploration.
According to Rhonda Plummer, secretary/treasurer of the jury, Petro-Land Resources, Inc.
contacted the jury a couple of weeks ago with an interest in whatever property that the police jury has in several areas of the parish. Plummer said it was a long list of areas the company wants to lease.
"We've got some things to check into," before proceeding, said Plummer. "We have to talk with our legal counsel and get advice from the d.a.'s office." Plummer said she didn't know when anything further would occur on the issue.
"It's a good sign for the parish," she added. "There's a lot of speculation going on with these gas companies looking for possible drill sites. I assume they feel there is something there and they want to try and get access to it before anyone else does."
Parish Road Supervisor Carl Thompson suggested that since similar activity was happening in the Burr Ferry and Evans areas that perhaps the jury would want to look into how to proceed with the entire parish.
Another result of the exploration activity is a change in an ordinance, said Plummer. At least one site that has already been drilled brought the issue of heavy hauling and its impact on parish roads to the attention of the jury earlier this year.
The change in the ordinance, approved unanimously by the jury, would require oil and gas companies using parish roads for heavy hauling to surface the roads to certain specifications determined by the parish road supervisor.
Reggie Johnson, district 5, and Jerry Blair, district 6, were quick to point out that the change did not apply to timber companies.
The intent of the change is to prevent damage to roads. Thompson and Plummer have both been communicating with northern parishes already dealing with an influx of oil and gas exploration. It is not uncommon for the oil and gas industry to haul loads as heavy as 200,000 pounds.
Plummer said the discussion with the northern parishes, who already have things in place to handle such activity, would help Vernon Parish to be prepared.