Several residents from Jack Martin Road showed up at Tuesday’s Webster Parish Police Jury meeting expressing anger and outrage over the number and the speed of saltwater trucks traveling the road daily.
They say they are not only upset about the increase in truck traffic but also with the police jury for not enforcing the agreement made with Nelson Energy. Glen Taylor, a resident of Jack Martin Road, says he understood the trucks were only allowed one route to get to the well site, but they appear to be using another route.
“Those trucks are creating a lot of traffic on the road and it’s just a residential road,” he said.
“We’d like to see something done about it.”
He says they are coming from Highway 80 to the well site. Police Jury President Jim Bonsall says in the agreement made last year, Nelson Energy was supposed to upgrade the road to standard.
“We’re going to make this deal work,” Bonsall said. “The roads are going to be fixed. I can tell you that it is going to happen. We want to try to get this deal done without any more trouble to y’all than we have to. It’s already been a bad deal.”
In 2015, Nelson Energy was granted a permit by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. Bonsall, in March 2015, said he was against it because of the infrastructure issues it would create.
District 7 Police Juror Steve Lemmons said when the permit was issued that Nelson Energy officials indicated during a November 2014 public hearing that the company was willing to spend the money to bring roads up to specification for the operation of a commercial disposal well.
The original route was for truckers to turn off Highway 532 onto Jack Martin Road from Peachtree. They aren’t doing that, residents said. The idea for the route was that it would only affect roughly 10 households, but with them coming directly off Highway 80, it’s affecting roughly 42 households.
Kary Bryce, also a Jack Martin Road resident, says he didn’t like the deal to begin with.
“Can we stop this injection well? No,” he said. “The police jury gave them the permit to the entrance and somebody’s going to get hurt. This is the most absurd entrance you could have put in there.”
Lemmons said they were given a permit for the entrance from Peachtree, not the second entrance.
Parish Attorney Patrick Jackson says the police jury had no say in Nelson Energy getting the permit.
“This body as a whole, and your representatives individually went to the DNR and used every political tool available and got the one finger salute,” he said. “There is activity going on right now that we can’t discuss in public talking about exactly what you’re saying.”
Lemmons says he has also been getting several complaints about the speed in which these trucks were traveling. The speed limit on Jack Martin Road is currently 45 miles per hour.
The jury unanimously agreed to lower it to 35 miles per hour.
In other news, the police jury adopted a resolution following a public hearing calling for a special election in December to renew ad valorem taxes for Road District A (2.65 mill) and Road District B (3.92 mill).
They also approved budget amendments for the month of April, as well as the transportation budget for the Office of Community Services and the budget for Section 8 HUD.
The Minden Press-Herald will serve another year as the parish’s official journal, but they will also run notices and advertisements in the Springhill Press and Journal as they did in 2015.
No bids were received for the property located off Dogwood Trail in Minden.
The police jury also approved the sale of adjudicated property at 102 Roosevelt Street for $1,000, an adjoining vacant lot in which a neighbor kept up the property. Secretary Treasurer Ronda Carnahan says it did not have to go up for sealed bid because the parish has not had to pay for upkeep of the property.
A resolution was adopted for the Union Grove Water System for $25,000 to replace old water service mains.
The Town of Cotton Valley will receive new police car lights for $750 and $500 for the community house. The police jury approved this recreational funding for district 5.
The agreement with CBI for debris monitoring was also approved. The jury decided to contract out the monitoring of debris removal following the March 8 flood. This will help them in the reimbursement process with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.