Mac Atteberry leases about 200 acres of land for natural gas exploration near Mowata. His tenant, Zachary Exploration, is operating a natural gas well and their investment went up in a cloud of dust last Tuesday.
“My wife first observed trucks moving in an area they don't normally park in and about that time I got a call from the Zachary office saying there were some problems on the well and for us to be prepared,” says Atteberry.
The well blowout left Atteberry and his wife, along with 38 other residents within a half mile radius of the site, anything but prepared.
“You can only get so much and then of course you realize you need something that you forgot. You have to go back and then you feed the animals,” says Atteberry.
State Police say residents have six hours a day to return to their home with a law enforcement escort to grab necessities and tend to their animals. They are saying the area isn't stable.
But, Greg Langley, DEQ spokesman, says the air and water is safe.
“We haven't shown any readings outside the regular or normal readings (ambient readings), so far,” says Langley.
Meanwhile, Atteberry says he's staying at a friend's house. Even though Black Creek Drilling, owner of the well's rig, offered to pay for food and boarding.
He has no plans to file suit.
“They assured everybody they would pick up the tab for all that and the inconvenience,” says Atteberry.
State Police say the Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office will continue to escort those evacuated residents back into their homes, twice a day, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and then 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. until that well is capped.