The smell of the Bayou Corne Louisiana Texas Brine Sinkhole

sinkholeIs the growing sinkhole crises at Bayou Corne Louisiana  worsening?  Is the state of Louisiana, the feds and Texas Brine Company doing enough to protect the area, the residents and the region?



On Tuesday, a 30 x 50 section caved in pulling down more trees and part of an access road.

According to the Advocate, “Other developments regarding the sinkhole emergency have emerged in recent days, state and parish officials said:

  • Sonar testing results of a damaged Texas Brine salt cavern and samples of material found in the cavern are being analyzed to better understand what happened to the cavern suspected as the cause of the sinkhole.
  • Testing of hydrocarbon liquids from a Texas Brine investigatory well into the cavern may provide a definite link between the cavern and the sinkhole.
  • Another location where natural gas bubbles to the surface of area waterways emerged and samples of its gas emissions have been captured for testing.

In announcing their cavern sustained damage, Texas Brine officials said Monday that a tool used to measure the depth of the underground cavern found its floor is 1,300 feet shallower than when it was plugged and abandoned in mid 2011. That new, shallower point is 4,000 feet underground.

The company said the findings indicated “some type of dense material has fallen to the bottom of the cavern.”

Parish and Louisiana Department of Natural Resources officials are trying to get a better idea about the nature and amount of material found Monday inside the 20-million-barrel salt cavern, said Patrick Courreges, DNR spokesman.

The sinkhole has been in existence now  since August 3 of this year, prior to Hurricane Isaac.

According to environmental attorney Stuart Smith, something smells.  Smith, who has been critical of the state and Texas Brine and others, stated today in a emailer sent to the public:

But the stench from the latest whopper from Texas Brine is more foul than any odor from the growing slurry pit:

 The Louisiana Office of Conservation Commissioner James Welsh ordered Texas Brine Co. of Houston Tuesday to turn over all studies and data supporting its claim that tremors caused the failure of the company’s salt cavern in Assumption Parish, the agency said.

 The order, which threatens fines or penalties for noncompliance, follows Texas Brine’s statement late Monday night that regional seismic activity damaged an abandoned company salt cavern that has been suspected as the cause of a 4-acre sinkhole erupting near the Bayou Corne community.

You read that correctly. Remember, this is the site were Texas Brine warned state officials more than a year and a half ago that there might be problems with the cavern’s integrity, and then neither the company nor the state lifted a finger this summer when the ground began to shake and gases began bubbling up from underground. And yet now Texas Brine is trying to pull a fast one by claiming the earth tremors caused the cavern to sink — not the other way around.

A federal official called out the company’s claim as preposterous:

But, in Tuesday’s statement from the Office of Conservation, researchers also studying the quakes disputed that claim.

William Leith, U.S. Geological Survey senior adviser for earthquake and geologic hazards, said that the USGS consensus is that the seismic activity detected in the area is a consequence of the cavern collapse, not the cause of the collapse and sinkhole/slurry area, the office’s statement says.

The bottom line just keeps growing bigger in Bayou Corne, and the ultimate bottom line is this: Somebody is going to have to pay for both the environmental carnage and the psychological stresses have been dumped on this small bayou community. Now Texas Brine has the audacity to portray this as an act of God, when clearly this crisis was created by humans acting recklessly. Even if the sinkhole swallows the entire town, it can’t swallow the truth.

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