LA office fines company again over sinkhole

Published: Dec. 18, 2012 at 12:20 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 18, 2012 at 12:44 PM CST
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Source: Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
Source: Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana officials said an additional $160,000 in fines have been issued to the company that owns the salt dome near the site of a giant sinkhole.

Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation James Welsh made the announcement of the added fines Monday evening.

Welsh said these fines follow $100,000 in penalties issued to Texas Brine earlier in the month.

He said the company continues to fail to comply with directives issued by his office on Nov. 12.

The Office of Conservation said the new penalties breakdown as:

$80,000 for continued failure to initiate installation of a containment system around the sinkhole to further prevent release of contaminants into nearby waterway

$80,000 for continued failure to install in-home monitors to detect possible natural gas accumulations and upgraded home ventilation for all slab-foundation

"The goals and mission of the state and the Office of Conservation in this situation are to take all necessary actions and measures within our legal authority to protect the safety of the public and the environment, and to get the lives of Bayou Corne residents back to normal as soon as possible," Welsh said. "If monetary penalties are what is required to provide Texas Brine with the same sense of urgency Conservation feels in addressing the problems caused by the failure of the company's cavern, then we'll continue to make clear to the company the cost of its inaction."

The new orders given on Nov. 12 amended the already existing Declaration of Emergency Directive. Welsh said they were intended to further the ongoing efforts to protect the public and the environment, reduce the impact of natural gas that had made its way to the aquifer due to the cavern and prevent crude oil from escaping the sinkhole created when the cavern wall collapsed.

Just last week, it was reported a section of land 20 feet by 30 feet was consumed by the sinkhole.

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