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Dig up the facts on fracking

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INDEPENDENCE- The controversial method of oil excavation called fracking is raising concerns for some communities, while others are pleased to welcome the process to their parish.

In Tangipahoa, land owners are thrilled at the possibility of fracking on their land, because it can mean instant wealth and promises of prosperity for the community.

"The oil companies will come in here and put a lot of money into the parish in the form of lease bonuses, and of course if they hit oil the landowners get a share of the oil, which will bring jobs to this country, it'll raise the tax base," said Gerald Burns, a farmer and landowner near current fracking sites.

Burns doesn't think fracking will cause a problem environmentally, but in communities like St. Tammany Parish, some residents fear the process could end up damaging water supplies.

"We do not want this in our community, we're really concerned about the health effects that come from fracking, we're worried about the possible water contamination and the fact that fracking can come in and fracture a community," said Marylee Orr, an environmental activist with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network.

Right now, the Department of Natural Resources is taking comments from residents in St. Tammany, who may be concerned about the possibility of drilling, but officials there won't prevent a permit, if it falls within the guidelines.

The process will likely end up in a legal battle with the state as the residents against it demand the frackers stay above ground and the oil companies push forward, eyeing lucrative profits in the ground.

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