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Judge greenlights class-action status for sinkhole lawsuits
A federal judge in New Orleans says he will grant class-action status to four lawsuits filed over issues raised by the Assumption Parish sinkhole, according to a new court filing Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey also will give Texas Brine Co. 30 more days to directly negotiate stalled out-of-court settlements with evacuated residents lacking legal representation.
[url=http://www.wdsu.com/news/around-louisiana/dotd-enhanced-monitoring-along-la-70-near-sinkhole/-/9853348/20272188/-/11v07p0/-/index.html?absolute=t rue&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=wdsu]DOTD: Enhanced monitoring along LA 70 near sinkhole Read more: www.wdsu.com...[/ url]
Louisiana DOTD says there will be enhanced monitoring along LA 70 near the Assumption Parish sinkhole. The improvements will provide broader observation and greater accuracy in measuring the area for movement and subsidence, DOTD says. DOTD says it will be able to use data from monitoring systems to alert responders if there are any significant movements or changes in the area near the site.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Texas Brine says it has started extending settlement offers to Assumption Parish residents who have been under an evacuation order since August because of a 15-acre sinkhole.
The company operated a collapsed salt dome that authorities say caused the sinkhole.
Texas Brine spokesman Sonny Cranch says 23 settlement offers were ready and officials were contacting those residents Friday afternoon and Saturday.
News of settlement offers comes just days after Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order to review the company's permits with the possibility of revocation - because of the company's slow response to residents seeking buyouts.
“We are scheduling appointments,” Cranch said. “They will come to our office, at the facilities we’ve maintained at the command center, and we will give them the offer.”
Cranch said residents could make counter-offers and if needed, Texas Brine would pay the cost for a third-party mediator. However, the mediation would be non-binding, he said.
The sinkhole, discovered in August, is in the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou area of Assumption Parish, about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. It has resulted in an ongoing evacuation order for about 150 homes in the area. The news of settlement offers comes just days after Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order telling state officials to review all of Texas Brine’s permits in Louisiana with the possibility of revocation, because of the company’s slow response on buyouts.
Cranch didn’t answer directly when asked whether Jindal’s executive order on Monday played a role in Friday’s settlement announcement, instead praising Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon for calling Texas Brine’s insurance carriers.
Jindal remained cautious Friday about the company’s announcement. “Texas Brine’s long overdue decision to finally offer buyouts is welcome news. However, the proof will be in the results. We will continue to hold Texas Brine accountable to make sure they clean up their mess and to ensure they make this situation right for homeowners,” the governor said in a statement.
As the sinkhole has grown over the last nine months and as the 2,258-foot-tall cavern continued to fill with rock and sediment— at a rate of three feet per day — the difference in volumes has remained, now nearly 2.5 million cubic yards of earth. The volume of material in the cavern is now more than twice the volume of the sinkhole.
Will Pettitt, a rock mechanics expert working on the sinkhole for the state’s Office of Conservation, said about 40 percent of the cavern has been filled by a volume of rock and sediment now matching the size of the sinkhole.
“So where is the rest of the cavern volume coming from?” asked Pettitt, also a member of a separate state panel studying the sinkhole.
Exactly where the rock is coming from has remained a point of debate between scientists working for the Office of Conservation and Texas Brine.
A pair of bills written in response to what is now a 15-acre sinkhole in Assumption Parish won unanimous approval Tuesday from the Louisiana Senate. The two bills by Rep. Karen Gaudet St. Germain would make the state commissioner of conservation tighten regulations around the state's salt domes and solution-mined caverns and require owners of homes up for sale to notify potential buyers of any nearby caverns.
"The tremor was large enough that the body wave phases could easily be identified," stated Assumption Parish officials said on a blog only about 24 hours after residents learned that the outer edge of the 1-mile by 3-mile Salt Dome under many of them has collapsed.
"The preliminary location was just SE of Oxy #3 cavern at a depth of 500 m.," the officials posted at 10:45 p.m. on Oct. 25.
Bayou Corne residents were forced from their homes on August third, two months after the bayous started bubbling and thousands of earthquakes occurred. They are still under a mandatory evacuation order declared by Gov. Bobby Jindal, although many remained.
Odd earthquakes have been felt as far as 45 miles south of the sinkhole, as reported on Oct. 5 after a swarm occurred with the highest quake registering over 4 on the Richter scale.
Tuesday night, Assumption Parish residents learned at a meeting that the Napoleonville Salt Dome outer edge has collapsed in a "frack-out" from pressurized brine, according to officials.
Officials are at a loss on how to rectify the rapidly escalating disaster.
Evans “Mike” Medine, 62, was among the first group of people to receive offers from Texas Brine on Friday.
Medine said Texas Brine’s offer did not “come close” to the value of his Bayou Corne home and was $70,000 less than the amount of a prior appraisal.
Medine, an evacuated resident who now lives in Ascension Parish, said the offer was supposed to be a buyout of his home and also payment for all other claims he and his wife had made in connection with their evacuation due to the sinkhole.
“It was woefully low,” he said of Texas Brine’s offer.
Qmantoo- I am still lurking but it is finally summer so I have been enjoying the weather. I still lurk and check the sinkhole daily. Today is actually a news day for Bayou Corne......
Originally posted by qmantoo
Any more news from the people on the ground? Things have gone slightly quiet, maybe because people are on holiday perhaps?
The suit tied to Brockovich also accuses Texas Brine and the two other named defendants, Miller Engineers and Associates and Occidental Chemical Corp., of fraud by concealing information about the cavern’s integrity since at least 2010 “in order to escape responsibility for any damages arising therefrom.”
I am happy to see that Brockivich & Co. are still on the case and moving forward. I like in the article that because of the mining to close to the edge, "the release of oil and gas from deep underground" happened. There seems to be no guess of a conclusion to the seeping that is happening.
The suits are the seventh and eighth filed in state or federal courts in connection with the sinkhole. All name Texas Brine Co. as a defendant. Both new suits seek a jury trial. The suit filed by lawyers working with Brockovich names 57 individual plaintiffs and three businesses and notes many evacuated residents “find themselves trapped in campers and distant motels trying to figure out if they will ever be able to return home.” Attorney Thomas Girardi, of Los Angeles, also took issue Tuesday with out-of-court offers Texas Brine began making Friday, claiming company officials are not being fair. “They’re disgusting, but I think, sooner or later, a jury is going to give these people proper compensation and I’d happy to be a part of that,” Girardi said. The suit seeks a variety of damages, including possibly expensive punitive damages. The lead plaintiff is Ernest Boudreaux Jr.
You KNOW there is a LAW that you must reveal to the public pollutants and toxic materials stored in state sanctioned facilities. NONE of the 53 caverns on the list show radioactive waste. You know that is untrue. Many companies are moving products around and replacing products with other products.
Full text here: The Truth About Revelation 12 The Great Methane Bubble Beneath the Gulf of Mexico is Melting;
The Great Judgements of our God against Louisiana and this nation! Get ready, people of Louisiana! Get ready! Get ready for one of the greatest catastrophes that you will ever see! I have sent you warnings through the great devastation of Hurricane Katrina! This was My first great warning to you, oh people of Louisiana: my warning to repent, or perish. Yet, you have made yourselves busy in re-buiding that great decadent city of New Orleans, but you have not repented! Then, I sent you even greater warnings through the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster! Great is this calamity and great have been your losses through this great calamity! But, still you have not repented! These are My judgments, oh you blind, who lead the blind; but you would not see My handiwork in the midst of these great calamities. You would not see My judgments through these great catastrophes! The Third Great Judgement Against Louisiana, and the people of this nation! Now, you do not see again what is happening to you! For, the great frozen methane lake, which is beneath the Gulf of Mexico, is quickly melting! The heat of the seeping oil, which is pouring into the frozen lake, is melting this great lake of frozen methane! Yes, you watch in amazement as these methane bubbles come to the surface and some of you are surprised at the shifting of your homes. But, hear Me! For, you have seen nothing yet! This gas is finding its own exits! A great volume of methane gas is pushing upwards and is seeking to find its own vents! As more of this gas pushes its way to the surface, there will come a shifting in the subterranean land masses. There shall come a subsequent shifting in the lands, both beneath the Gulf of Mexico, and even for some distance from the Gulf of Mexico! Some of these land displacements will be great with ensuing earthquakes. But, the earthquakes will not compare to the unexpected explosions, and in many areas, unparalleled deaths of humans, animals and aquatic life and yes, even birds and other life forms! Oh, you people of Louisiana, you would not listen! I have sent you two very great calamities and now comes a third. So great shall be your suffering! The stench, the stink of the dying shall be so great! And, many will say, “Who is going to Louisiana?” For, the explosions and the dying shall be so great among you!
Now that is an alarming thought. I know that they have a traffic plan in place in case Rte 70 is affected but if they truly are moving stuff around then the first responders are in serious danger. As we saw in Texas at the fertilizer plant, it is said they used water to respond to the fire but that was a big no-no. This is a serious issue you bring up. I hadn't thought of what if first responders actually are called to the scene there.
Originally posted by qmantoo
The trouble is that there are over 50 caverns in the Napoleonville Salt Dome and if the salt dome is disintergrating and collapsing, then it may have a domino effect causing these other caverns to collapse also. We really dont know what is REALLY in these caverns now - particularly if the companies are playing it safe and moving contents about.
What may have been in there may no longer be the real contents and so First Responders will have the incorrect information in their hands if the S Hits The Fan. This is very worrying if it is the case because they are depending on health and safety information being correct in order to properly respond to any emergency.
If anyone in authority is reading this, you need to send out a memo asking to be informed of current contents of the various caverns and any change in contents too. Then, most importantly, you need to make sure that the proper communications are in place with the First Responders and their databases. It would be useless to have the information and then not pass it on to the folks who will be attending the emergency.