Needs work: Residents,environmentalists ask for changes to proposed salt dome cavern regulations

Needs work: Residents,environmentalists ask for changes to proposed salt dome cavern regulations
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POSTED: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 2:38am

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 9:50am

 Bayou Corne residents, environmental activists, and area public officials spoke out Tuesday asking the state office of conservations to make changes proposed new rules for regulating mining and storage caverns and wells contained on the caverns in salt domes.

Meeting goers told representatives from the office of conservation at a public meeting they have some ideas to make the new rules stronger.

Nick Romero lives in Bayou Corne, so he knows first hand what it's like when a disaster like a massive sinkhole forms. He said he never wants another community to go through what his community is still experiencing.

Now he said it's time the state gives more bite to their proposed rules regulating activity on a salt dome.

"It’s time that they show true leadership and they actually put something in the regulations that can be enforced, " Romero said.

Romero said the proposed new rules are a good first try, but more needs to be done.

"Not yet if they listen to what's presented, and if they act on those they are getting there," Romero said.

Romero wants officials to make changes geared towards helping residents recover in case something like this happens again. He said the proposed rules are too vague.

"Their regulations as strong as they are for the environment they need to be just as strong if not stronger for the people who live around these facility," Romero said.

Environmental activists at the meeting also had issue with the proposed rules.

Wilma Subra, with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, said the office of conservation needs to add more transparency to their rules. She advocated for a rule change to require operators to tell the public not just the office of conservation if something goes wrong.

"These rules must be modified that the public within a 3 mile radius be notified immediately of the failed mechanical integrity test," Subra said.

Subra was one of several environmental activist who voiced their concerns with the proposed regulations defining how close a cavern or well can be to the edge of the salt. Subra said the office of conservation needs to increase the proposed distance adding more space between wells, and the edge of the salt.

If you missed the meeting you can send in questions, comments, or concerns about the proposed new rules and regulations until 4:30 p.m. December 6 that is when the public comment period ends.

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