POSTED: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 2:23pm
UPDATED: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 5:51pm
BATON ROUGE, LA — On the eve of the one-year anniversary of Texas Brine’s failed salt cavern in Bayou Corne, Governor Bobby Jindal and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced today 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. Also named in the suit is the owner of the property, Occidental Chemical Company.
The Louisiana State Constitution mandates that the State and its agencies protect, conserve and replenish the natural resources of Louisiana. Pursuant to this authority, the Attorney General’s office is filing suit on behalf of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and other responding state agencies.
Governor Bobby Jindal said, “By filing suit, we are staying committed to holding Texas Brine accountable for the damage they’ve caused to Bayou Corne and to Louisiana. 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.”
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, Governor Jindal met with Texas Brine officials and demanded settlement offers for residents affected by the sinkhole in Bayou Corne. To date, 62 of 92 affected residences whose owners have expressed interest in reaching a settlement agreement. Negotiations between Texas Brine and residents who are allowed to continue negotiations under the terms of the federal judge’s order are ongoing, with more agreements expected.
In May, Governor Jindal ordered the Commissioner of Conservation to conduct a complete review of the permits issued to Texas Brine in connection with its operations of salt cavern wells in Assumption Parish, as well as all permits issued to Texas Brine throughout the state. 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.
Saturday, August 3 marks the one-year anniversary of the occurrence of the sinkhole at Bayou Corne in Assumption Parish.