In wake of Assumption Parish sinkhole incident, lawmakers want oversight

On behalf of Rock Palermo of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC posted in Oil and Gas on April 15, 2013.

Four Louisiana lawmakers have thrown their support behind a bill they say would protect landowners from the dangers of salt mining, which is believed to have caused the sinkhole in Assumption Parish that we have told you about in previous posts.

As Lake Charles may already know, the 13-acre sinkhole opened in August after the salt mine underneath the swampy land collapsed. Salt mines are used to create brine for the oil and gas industry. One hundred and fifty nearby homes have been evacuated and 350 residents displaced.

One of the lawmakers, Rep. Karen St. Germain (D. - Pierre Part) said there is concern that people are buying and using land without being aware that salt mines are underground or nearby, and that brine producers are not being watched carefully enough. She said the aim is to provide more transparency and step up oversight.

The bill would accomplish the following things:

  • Increase monitoring and mapping of salt-mining site
  • Place limits on the reuse of salt caverns, in the interest of making sure people don't buy land without realizing it is on an old salt mine.
  • Putting a pause on the issuance of new salt mining operations.
  • Create more severe fines for noncompliace

To us, the philosophy behind this bill seems like a good idea. We believe that landowners have rights that need to be protected, and they deserve to be fully informed about property before they buy it. We also think the oil and gas industry, as well as its related fields, need to be monitored closely, because companies in those arenas have shown they will cut corners if they are not watched carefully.

Source: The Associated Press, "Louisiana lawmakers seek better oversight of salt mines," Littice Bacon-Blood, April 13, 2013

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