Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore – a former US Army General who helped thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina – has recently decided to step in the crisis around Louisiana, after a huge salt dome has collapsed in the area. The chemical environment poses huge risks of explosion, while plenty of citizens have already been evacuated from the area. There is more than a year since the unfortunate accident occurred, yet the situation regarding the 15 acre Bayou Corne sinkhole is still not solved.
The General has visited some of the locals on Wednesday, after they have continuously asked him to get there and see the situation. The disaster has, indeed, inducted a state of emergency in the area, while many natives have been evacuated without being given any options. With all these, some of them are still exposed to the dangers, since they simply have no other alternatives. The disaster occurred on August 3, 2012, yet the government has failed to give the sinkhole evacuees too much help so far, hence the implication of the retired General.
During the meeting, Gen. Honore has ensured about twenty of the citizens that they have a strong ally in his name. He also guaranteed for his help and a close investigation of the fact, but he did not hesitate to blame Texas Brine, LLC either – the company responsible for the disaster. The respective company has recently made an offer of $38 for each square foot of property, only to ameliorate the problem. But then, the representatives fail to understand that this is not a matter of finances. There are people who were born and grown in the area, so this is actually their home. On the other hand, Texas Brine seems to take this accident for a real estate transaction.
The buildings in the area have been shaken by hundreds of even thousands of man caused earthquakes. On the other hand, methane gas is everywhere in the area, including the citizens’ yards. There are no doubts that this is actually a sacrifice area, without the company to actually consider the citizens’ necessities.
Texas Brine public representative Sonny Cranch has declared that not less than 28 residents have taken the offers made by the company. He also agreed that none of them has actually received any checks or money so far. The bureaucratic procedures are time consuming, so they must wait for all the paperwork to be over.
Resident Carla Alleman has mentioned that she has a geo-probe in her main yard, but also a second active one in the backyard. Her house is only 2,000 feet from the problematic area that keeps expanding, so the transactions cannot really be delayed too much. Today, the disastrous area is slowly moving towards Grand Bayou and Bayou Corne.
Carla Alleman’s family can also brag with three different vent wells in the yard. The family was among the first ones evacuated in the summer of 2012. Back then, Gov. Bobby Jindal gave a quick ultimatum and came up with a forced evacuation, only for the citizens’ safety. However, both Carla Alleman and her neighbor Candy Blanchard agreed that they never thought about what would happen next. According to their own words, these problems were just out of their imagination.
Carla left her property within hours after the disaster, on August 3. She thought she and her family would return in a couple of weeks, even if the authorities gave a 40 day estimation. They moved to a relative, then they rented a different home. So far, they switched three different homes. At the same time, Candy Blanchard hoped for a few days or perhaps weeks only, but she was surprised to find out that there was no way to get some accurate estimations.
The authorities declared that although it has been a year since the disaster, the crisis is unique and they have never had to deal with such situations. They have gotten in touch with specialists across the world, yet no one knows how to repair the damage. Practically, they have a cavern that collapsed 5 feet underground, while crude oil and natural gas keep coming out everywhere, including in buildings.
These days, the sinkhole keeps advancing and is slowly taking over the Napoleonville Salt Dome, which measures three square miles. It is moving on towards Grand Bayou, but also Bayou Corne. It is only a matter of time until the area will be nothing but a disastrous lake covered in chemicals.
The worst part is that residents are continuously under the threatening of a severe methane explosion, especially with so many bubbling areas and man caused earthquakes. There are more than 60 bubbling areas around, while substances like hydrogen sulfide have been constantly found in people’s homes.
Code 3 Alerts can only be issued if the earthquakes become intensive and risky. With all these, the authorities fail to understand that a problematic sinkhole is slowly eating a natural paradise that existed in the area, with century old trees or impressive Cajuns. As for the risks over the population, they are obvious to everyone. Recently, a boat used by local workers was simply swallowed by the growing swamp, as well as a very important ramp.
Gen. Honore has local Creole origins and is often referred to as The Ragin’ Cajun. He decided to see the area and the disastrous effects after getting dozens of letters from voiceless residents who were simply ignored. Although he has only listened to their problems for now, the locals think that his name association will draw a lot of international attention.