Rare Good News Thursday

Parish assessor wins salt dome ruling – $500K more in property taxes to be collected yearly

” . . .  He [Attorney Brian Eddington, who handled the case for the parish]  said probably the biggest of these other cases is in Assumption Parish where a sinkhole, linked to another salt dome cavern, has eaten homes and threatened a major highway. That sinkhole covers more than 29 acres and is continuing to expand.Eddington said 13 salt caverns exist in Assumption Parish and locals have been largely kept in the dark about them until now. . .  “

” . . .  [St. Landry Tax Assessor Rhyn Duplechain ]  Duplechain said six taxing districts cover the area where the salt dome caverns are located. They will now share in the $1.3 million in escrow as well as the added $500,000 a year. . . “

Good. They got a pot of money. Now they can put up live cams around Lake FUBAR and make the feed available to the public.

AND –

Thanks to community input the Awful Bill was stopped, sort of. It was delayed til next week. Sent in: “This bill was put off until next week. They must have chickened out!  “

The AdvocateJudge grants preliminary OK in sinkhole settlement

Class-action lawsuit update

The Advocate Lawyers push forward with lawsuits against Texas Brine
Trial date is set for April 14 in N.O.

By David J. Mitchell
Plaintiffs’ attorneys in the class-action lawsuit over the Assumption Parish sinkhole said Wednesday they aren’t too worried about new litigation between Texas Brine Co. and one of its insurers.

The attorneys said they have an April 14 trial date in U.S. District Court in New Orleans and have no plans of deviating from having their clients’ day in court.

“The lawyers for the class action are not concerned about Texas Brine’s dispute or lack thereof with their insurer in Texas,” New Orleans attorney Lawrence Centola III said.

“It doesn’t change the fact that we have an April 14 trial date. It doesn’t change fact that we are moving forward with our April 14 trial date.”

Backup insurer Liberty Insurance Underwriters Inc. has asked a federal judge in Houston to declare the insurer does not have to pay under its policy with Texas Brine. . . .

http://theadvocate.com/home/7514012-125/lawyers-push-forward-with-lawsuits

Here Comes the Army!

WAFB –  Former General Honore tours giant Louisiana sinkhole  < has VIDEO

BAYOU CORNE, LA (WAFB) –  The retired United States Army General who brought hope to hundreds of thousands of evacuees after Hurricane Katrina said he is keeping a close eye on Texas Brine, the company that has taken blame for the giant sinkhole in Assumption Parish. Ret. Lt. Gen. Russell Honore said the federal government should help evacuees. . . .

http://www.wafb.com/story/22648823/honore-tours-sinkhole

Residents Near Lake FUBAR Who Haven’t Left: Rethink That Choice!

Because Texas Brine has put out so many statements that have later been shown to be untrue – do pause when they suggest as soon as they fix a few things up you can move home again.

Consider Texas Brine’s WHOPPERS from the past

Sept. 25, 2012 – Texas Brine claims they didn’t collapse the salt dome. They blame natural earthquakes.
They stick to that fiction a long timeOct. 29 summary has it in the USGS section, p.16

Oct. 12, 2012 – Texas Brine claims sinkhole isn’t expanding and everything’s under control

Nov. 2, 2012 – Texas Brine denies huge sinkhole expansion

Jan. 4, 2013 – Texas Brine protested the state directive to investigate the salt dome collapse they caused.

MORE on Texas Brine’s unforthcomingness.  And worse WHOPPERS on Freedomrox’s blog.

ALSO

Texas Brine Shows Its True Colors

Bayou Journal
Texas Brine Shows Its True Colors
By: Lonny Cavalier, Contributing Writer

It’s akin to hearing sirens and wondering if your kids are involved in some accident, or if you’re in a boat and a storm rolls in and you wonder if you have enough fuel to take you safely to shore.
Get the point?
It is like someone kicking you in the stomach, the worst feeling ever.
That is what Texas Brine and its execs have done to the people of Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou for a year now.
They have kicked you in the gut, sliced you in the back, poured salt in the wound, then spit at you when they kick you for one final time.
That is what you feel if you are in some way connected to this event, and Texas Brine continues its mining operations, raking in millions, lying to the victim’s, not even with a straight face, and how can you forget when Mark Cartwright smirked at 74 year old Norm Schewe’s statement, “That we just don’t trust you”.
A few pointers to remind them:

*Go back to late 2010 when this event started with P & A of Texas Brine’s well. If the revelation would have been made then rather than in August of 2012, we may well not be in this situation today.
*Then, remember the stagnant response of Texas Brine following the sinkhole development. If you take their word, an “earthquake”, caused this.
*Then the issue of N.O.R.M. being injected into the cavern. Texas Brine said they did. They suddenly reversed themselves when they figured out it was illegal to do so during the relevant period. While always denying about injecting, suddenly numerous permit requests were discovered from Texas Brine to Office of Conservation to inject the material into various wells, but yet the company refuses to acknowledge that it ever did. So the evidence speaks volumes to the contrary.
*Texas Brine consistently violated Office of Conservation orders to do what was needed to make the region safer, ie. vent wells, monitors, etc.
*Only after being told that they were in violation of their permit did Texas Brine agree to pay support funds to resident’s, then moved to discontinue payments to camp owners.
*Then there came the revelation that Texas Brine was selling for profit crude oil harvested from the sinkhole.
*The 3-D imaging results if you listen to Texas Brine, leads one to believe that everything is ok.
*The dagger through the heart, Texas Brine looks the Governor in the face and says, “We will move towards buyouts in a swift manner, and we expect offers to go out within 45 days.”

To date, some 55 days later Texas Brine has not extended a single offer to a single homeowner.
What a disgrace!
But don’t worry resident, it’s getting better.
More gas under your homes, more bubble sites, a severe uptick in seismic events, an ever expanding sinkhole, promised buyouts that now seem to be an afterthought. If not for those things, all would be great living in Bayou Corne.
What is disgusting is that this company has consistently looked the public in the eye and told lie after lie, after lie.
While totally disabling a community, Texas Brine continues to produce product by mining Oxy Geismar No. 2, creating revenue for this company.
Meanwhile, Texas Brine has failed the community that has supported them over the last 30+ years. Texas Brine is not making good on its financial obligations to the parish, the state and the many creditors owed for this ongoing event, as well as residents.
The State of Louisiana should immediately file litigation to seize any asset’s derived from the Texas Brine Corporation’s activities, have the funds placed in escrow and preserved for recovery financing. There is legal precedent for such action and should be filed immediately.
In the meantime, the executives charged with the task of running this company, those same executives who have misled everyone that they have dealt with throughout this event, should immediately step aside in lieu of leadership that will be responsible to the needs of the affected resident’s.
The state should also move to revoke all operating authority Texas Brine has, until they install responsible officers who will run this company in a prudent manner and take the good with the bad.

Enough is enough!

Buy-Outs In Mind – Monday News

WBRZ – Video – Parish still waiting for sinkhole payments

WWLTV – Video – Some [BP] oil spill cleanup workers say exposure to chemicals left them sick

He says he asked for protection — a respiratory mask, special gloves and boots. “And they told me I’d be fired or I’d be relieved of my duties because it would be bad media attention.”

DNR Inspection Report (5-20) – They are drilling into the cap rock (p. 2 at the end). They posted recent reports too.

Strange Sounds reports Meteor with Strange Sounds in Kentucky, Illinois, Arizona, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi – May 18 confused

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Insurance Co. / Buy-Out Bombshell . . . Jindal to Address Issue Momentarily

WBRZ –  Insurance company blamed for sinkhole buyout holdup

by Russell Jones

BATON ROUGE – The company which owns land a massive sinkhole appeared on blamed their insurance carrier today for the holdup in buyouts for nearby property.

Texas Brine, LLC released a statement which said their carrier hasn’t approved any money for buyouts just yet, and they’re working with the insurance company to get that money as soon as they can.

Around 100 residents living near the sinkhole in Assumption Parish signed up to have their properties bought out. Officials said Texas Brine is nearly three weeks overdue to make offers for their land.

Estimates put the damage and related costs from the sinkhole at $40 million, which the state says Texas Brine is liable for.

Gov. Bobby Jindal scheduled a press conference this afternoon to address issues with the sinkhole response. News 2 crews are there and will have updates tonight.

Governor to discuss sinkhole response efforts

BAYOU CORNE – Buyouts and outstanding costs for dealing with a sinkhole in Assumption Parish could be on Governor Bobby Jindal’s agenda for a press conference scheduled for this afternoon.

The governor scheduled the event for 1:20 p.m. at the Bayou Corne Sportman’s Landing on Hwy 70 South. . . .

TEXAS BRINE’S IDIOTIC LETTER TO RESIDENTS

The AdvocateTexas Brine says insurers holding up settlement offers

N.O. Times-PicayuneBuyouts for Assumption Parish sinkhole residents held up; Gov. Bobby Jindal orders review of company’s permits