We have a great newspaper. Advocate reporter David Mitchell deserves an award and our thanks for his coverage about the Bayou Corne environmental problems that led to the Aug. 3 “sinkhole” and a near-disaster. If you missed Mitchell’s Aug. 9 front-page story titled “Dome issues kept quiet,” you must read it.
For months, residents complained about gas bubbling up in the bayous and feeling earthquake-like tremors. This area is above a large salt dome where Texas Brine Co. has mined the salt for years creating huge caverns with some used to store natural gas. The Department of Natural Resources officials, with local parish officials, searched for the cause, ruling out gas pipelines and an nearby “orphan” well.
Mitchell’s story exposes that DNR issued a permit in May 2010 for Texas Brine Co. to mine salt higher in the dome. They did that in September 2010. By letter Jan. 21, 2011, the Texas Brine Co.’s president informed DNR the cavern had failed an integrity test and may have “breached” the outer wall. Texas Brine Co. plugged the well in June 2011. DNR had allowed Texas Brine to dispose of radioactive material in the cavern. With the wall breached, where will the radioactive material wind up?
It is business as usual when Big Oil and Big Chemical get their right wing Republican picks in control of our state. Gov. Mike Foster’s DEQ secretary resigned after saying he didn’t know he was “required” to notify land owners that their land was being contaminated by an adjoining oil company. DNR Secretary Scott Angell resigned the same day The Advocate article appeared. He has qualified to run for public service commissioner. We need a voice for the people on the PSC. With the tax breaks for Big Oil to “frack” for gas, it is now so cheap the utility companies can change from coal and lower our rates while cleaning our air. Will our government and senators oppose this cheap gas being exported rather than helping Louisiana’s energy and environment problem?
DNR and DEQ do not perform their duty to protect the people and our environment. Maybe LEAN and the Sierra Club could be convinced to request the Federal Environmental Protection Agency to get involved.
I thank the Manships and their editors for direction in keeping The Advocate an important asset to our community and state. I feel if our state government can be put back on the right path The Advocate will play an important part.
retired sea/river maritime