After reading Mr. David Mitchell’s article in The Advocate on May 9, it outrages me as it should ALL OF YOU to learn from the dome operators on the salt domes throughout the state that the guidelines previously existing for the distance to mine caverns from the edge of domes was determined by “rule of thumb”.
Even though this will later be changed to 300’ minimum, what else don’t we know about mining and storage regulations as they are now written? Also, Even with the latest 3-D technology, as we were advised in our latest town hall meeting by the Texas Brine vice president himself, these surveys are only accurate to plus or minus 75 feet! When the failed cavern was mined originally, it was thought that there was 600 feet between the edgeof the salt and the cavern. This was discovered to be painfully incorrect and we are faced with its terrible consequences.
Is it just me or does anyone in our legislature think that it may be very wise and prudent to suspend any further mining and ESPECIALLY storage of hydrocarbons inside of the salt domes until this travesty regarding LDNR rules can be investigated further and strengthened to ensure this never happens again?
I’ve stated before to anyone who cared to listen that the rules for above ground storage consists of volumes of calculations, rules, verifications, testing, inspections, fabrication methods and techniques, qualification requirements for welding as well as for welders, material properties, material stresses, wind effect calculations, etc., etc., etc. These rules and regulations are located in the manuals of ASME Section VIII as well as in various API specifications. No fabrication shop can sell even the tiniest pressure vessel to these very same companies who use the multi-million gallon caverns for storage without following these specifications to the tee. AGL, Texas Brine, Dow Chemical, CrossTex, Chevron and all the rest expect and demand (as they well should) that we certify and insure these vessels to the appropriate specifications. Yet we in the state of Louisiana allow these very same companies to operate ONE HUNDRED MILLION GALLON highly pressurized vessels by “RULE OF THUMB”. For heaven’s sake, these caverns are larger than the combined volume of what the twin towers in New York once were.
Excuse my outrage.
I hope that each and every one of you share my incredulousness.
Please help us to straighten out this mess. Let’s get some scientific reassurance that what is stored beneath our communities will remain there as intended. Let’s not have another Grand Bayou, Louisiana incident as we had on Christmas Eve 2003. Let’s not have another Hutchinson, Kansas disaster which claimed several lives. Let us join together and tell lobbyist Marjorie McKeithen and her colleagues that enough is enough. When arguing for the defeat of Senator Mills’ SB200 she stated in front of the Senate Natural Resources Committee that there was never a failure of a storage cavern facility and that the Bayou Corne accident had nothing to do with “storage caverns”, just tell her THANK the Good Lord that it was NOT a storage cavern… but that right next door in Grand Bayou, it was a storage cavern that caused the evacuation and eventual relocation of the entire town. It was a storage cavern in Hutchinson Kansas where lives were lost. It was a storage cavern where exactly 20 years ago this week in Brenham, Texas where a police officer found the lifeless body of a blue-eyed, blonde-haired 5-year-old boy named Derrick Meinen and two of his neighbors after a storage cavern explosion there. The scene was that of a town ripped to shreds by a vicious tornado, but the truly disgusting aspect is that these loss of lives were caused by man’s lackadaisical attitude to safety and knowledge of the geological stresses and factors when utilizing this type of storage.
Read about the grief and devastation here on the Brenham Texas incident:
And here on the Hutchinson, Kansas tragedy:
I’m angry… as you should be too. It’s time to call a moratorium on these storage caverns until these regulations can be strengthened so there is no doubt that the citizens of this state will be safe and our aquifers protected.
Vote FOR SB200 when it comes up for reconsideration. Vote FOR SB214 when it is introduced. It is your profound duty to the residents who depend on the Chicot Aquifer for their sole source of drinking water and the safety of all residents who live next to salt domes in our state.
Dumbfounded resident of Bayou Corne