Drilling nixed at Arlington

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, May 29, 2013

NATCHEZ — The drilling company that hoped to find oil on the historic Arlington property, but instead found a group of angry citizens and the need take the matter to court, has reportedly decided to move the project elsewhere.

Mayor Butch Brown told the Natchez Board of Aldermen at its Tuesday meeting that Mike Biglane of RMB Exploration has decided not to drill on the property. Biglane, Brown said, has decided to move the proposed project to another property near Routhland that is in a more secluded and wooded area and away from Arlington and residences.

The site would still be in Natchez city limits.

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Brown did not have specific details, and Biglane could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Biglane encountered significant resistance to the oil well from residents and the city when he first proposed it last year.

The oil operation, which was denied for the second time by the preservation commission on Jan. 9, was proposed to be in the same location denied by the planning and preservation commissions and the Natchez Board of Aldermen last year.

Biglane had moved a portion of the project — the proposed oil tank farm — to a parcel of land accessed from the end of Ouachita Street in his latest plans in an effort appease concerns about the operation’s impact on Arlington.

RMB Exploration filed an appeal to the preservation commission’s most recent decision in Adams County Chancery Court on Jan 24.

The Mississippi State Oil and Gas Board approved the application of RMB Exploration to drill the well in February. But board attorney Howard Leach said at that time that all of the board’s orders specifically outline that applicants must obtain any other permits from other applicable entities, such as the city.