Brockovich takes on sinkhole case
PIERRE PART (AP) — Environmental activist Erin Brockovich says Assumption Parish residents whose homes are threatened by a huge sinkhole should sue the owners of a failed salt dome cavern believed to have caused the sinkhole.
Brockovich told Bayou Corne residents at a meeting in Pierre Part that legal action is their only chance of relief.
Gov. Bobby Jindal will meet in Baton Rouge with Ascension Parish officials today to discuss the sinkhole.
About 350 people have been evacuated since early August, when the sinkhole appeared. It has kept growing since then.
At least 50 homeowners have retained Thomas Girardi, who works with Brockovich and also spoke to the gathering.
Brockovich said afterward that Bayou Corne residents contacted her shortly after the sinkhole appeared, and recently invited her to speak to them in Louisiana.
Texas Brine Co. LLC, which owns the collapsed cavern thought to have created the sinkhole, has no comment about Brockovich’s and Girardi’s comments, spokesman Sonny Cranch said Sunday.
Scientists believe that the sinkhole was created by the collapse of a cavern too near the edge of the underground mountain of salt called the Napoleonville Salt Dome.
After new seismic surveys suggested that a second Texas Brine cavern is closer to the dome’s outer wall than previously thought, the Assumption Parish sheriff Friday called for a new emergency plan in case a second sinkhole developed.
The state Office of Conservation had ordered the new tests and has been monitoring the second cavern, spokesman Patrick Courreges said. Measurements of its internal pressure and nearby seismic activity do not suggest any sort of failure may be under way, he said.
Texas Brine agrees with that assessment, Cranch said.