State suing Texas Brine over Bayou Corne sinkhole

Published: Aug. 2, 2013 at 7:39 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2013 at 9:11 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Saturday, August 3 marks the one year anniversary of the sinkhole occurrence at Bayou Corne in Assumption Parish.

Governor Bobby Jindal and Atty. General Buddy Calwell announced that the State of Louisiana is filing suit against Texas Brine LLC for environmental damage caused by the collapse of a salt brining cavern operated by Texas Brine Company LLC. Occidental Chemical Company is also named in the suit as owner of the property.

"By filing suit, we are staying committed to holding Texas Brine accountable for the damage they've caused to Bayou Corne and to Louisiana," said Gov. Jindal, " We have already pushed for buyouts for affected residents and are undertaking a thorough review of all of Texas Brine's permits in our state. This suit is just the next step in making sure Texas Brine does the right thing and properly addresses the mess it's caused."

According to the Governor's office, "the Louisiana State Constitution mandates the state and its agencies protect, conserve, and replenish" Louisiana's natural resources. Agencies such as the Dept. of Natural Resources, Dept. of Environmental Quality will have law suits filed on their behalf by the Attorney General's Office.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said,  "The safety and welfare of our citizens is the top priority. Additionally, Louisiana has expended significant financial resources to help the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities receive the assistance and protection they need. We are pursuing this lawsuit to hold the appropriate parties responsible for this tragic event."

In March, Gov. Jindal demanded settlement offers for residents affected by the sinkhole in Bayou Corne. Nearly two-thirds of affected residences have expressed interest in reaching a settlement agreement and more agreements are expected.

Governor Jindal met with Texas Brine officials in May to conduct a complete review of the permits issued to Texas Brine in connection with its operations of the salt cavern wells in Assumption Parish, and also throughout the state.

According to Gov. Jindal's office, "the review—which is ongoing—is being conducted in order to determine if Texas Brine's current financial condition indicate that such permit(s) should be modified, revoked and reissued, or terminated."