Sinkhole buyouts in a Louisiana bayou will be offered by a Houston-based firm after a massive sinkhole opened up last year. Gov. Bobby Jindal announced the buyouts this week.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Wednesday that Texas Brine will offer some buyouts for residents affected by sinkholes in Bayou Corne.
Texas Brine, based in Houston, will voluntarily carry out the buyouts, Jindal said, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He said a third-party appraiser will go to Bayou Corne in the next week.
In 2012, a massive sinkhole opened up in Bayou Corne, forcing some 150 homes to be evacuated. Many officials blamed Texas Brine for the collapse of caverns at the Napoleonville Salt Dome, which led to the growing sinkhole.
The sinkhole, which first appeared in August, is around 111 feet deep and is between 6.7 and 7 acres. Bayou Corne residents have filed lawsuits in a federal court to seek damages from Texas Brine.
“They’ve got an obligation to make things right,” Jindal said in a press conference after a meeting with the company.
The appraisers will speak with each family about their situation and what they would prefer, reported NBC-33 in Baton Rouge.
“It has finally gotten to the point where we said, ‘Enough’s enough.’ We finally said that we need to get the president in here and tell him this has to happen. It should have happened a long time ago,” said Jindal, according to the station.
He added: “Again, this will be a voluntary buyout–for those that want the buyout, this is a good opportunity for them. Local and state officials will continue to work with them (Bayou Corne residents). One of the things the Blue Ribbon Commission is designed to do is to determine when it will be safe for people to go back.”
Months before the sinkhole appeared, residents of Bayou Corne recalled hearing minor tremors and natural gas bubbles in the swamp.
Officials have also aired concerns of another cavern owned by Texas Brine.
Jindal said that if the second cavern collapsed, nearby Highway 70 could be seriously damaged, reported the Times-Picayune.
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