The Nov. 15-25, 2007, well fire near Ramah that starved Breaux Bridge and Henderson of I-10 traffic was only 300 feet from the elevated span.
State Department of Natural Resources spokesman Patrick Courreges said that wells on solid ground cannot be drilled any closer than the height of the derrick so if it should fall, the structure would not block the highway.
Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation James H. Welsh said the changes give Louisiana some of the most stringent oil and gas drilling safety rules in the country and the toughest, bar none, on drilling near an elevated highway.
Most states don’t have any limits and the few that do set it at 100 feet.
According to DNR, the 1,000-foot ban will also impact the I-10 causeway over Lake Pontchartrain and its bridges over the Sabine, Calcasieu, Mississippi and Pearl rivers, the I-12 crossing of the Amite River and the I-20 crossing of the Red, Ouachita, Tensas and Mississippi rivers,
Don Briggs, head of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, said that while the 1,000 feet ban is “understandable,” it “may take some property out of commerce.”