The big FEUD news will go here!
Oldest at the top.
AUG. 28, 2012
As hurricane approaches La. – Jindal picks a fight with Obama
OCT. 10, 2012
Texas Brine vs State Officials Feud
OCT. 12, 2012
Louisiana DNR fires this shot across Texas Brine’s bow: “8:00 p.m. DNR News Release”
And they do an add-on to their earlier state of emergency declaration laying out a pile of complaints about Texas Brine.
http://dnr.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=newsroom&tmp=detail&aid=983 PDF original
“Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation James Welsh today ordered Texas Brine LLC to take action to assess and abate threats to public safety and the environment caused by the failure of its abandoned brine cavern on the west side of the Napoleonville Salt Dome, including the presence of natural gas in the area ground water aquifer.”
Texas Brine responds by ignoring the shot and carrying on as usual, dickering around in boats at the sinkhole.
Texas Brine claims sinkhole isn’t expanding and everything’s under control (!!)
But they have been formally SERVED …
Then . . . Friday, Oct. 12, the Assumption Parish blog REPEATS the DNR ORDER to Texas Brine!! And they include the declaration in a link. So this will all play out online!
Then . . . Oct. 13, 2012 – Texas Brine Says it will Obey DNR Orders
SEE ULTIMATUM (#1 & #2) COUNTDOWN CLOCKS on right sidebar!
And a good summary of the situation – Texas Brine Caused Sinkhole Calamity . . . “cavern was mined too close to the edge of the salt dome”
Texas Brine’s Oct. 12 update (on line Oct. 13) is very contrite and they say they will make nice with LDNR. They say they have all the ‘hydrocarbons’ (gooey crude) contained and will remove it all. That will make interesting photo opportunity.
Oct. 14, 2012 – TEXAS BRINE TAKES THE WEEKEND OFF (!!) It’s not as if there’s anything important to do . . . or ultimatums to meet . . . Meanwhile, the DNR were busy as bees checking the bubbling and updating their bubble site map with the new spots. It can’t be fun since even at flying altitude it’s supposed to stink to high heaven.
Oct. 15, 2012 – DNR publishes their list of demands a third time. Some demands are not on our ULTIMATUM COUNTDOWN (oops!) – on the sidebar. These are two not on the sidebar countdown: Oct. 13 item about the schematics profile of the cavern seems to have been met on time.
They have JUST HOURS to meet the OCT. 16 ultimatum!
On or before Tuesday, October 16, 2012:
- Texas Brine must provide Dept. of Conservation with a plan for installing and monitoring additional Geoprobe wells to monitor water quality/ pressures in the Bayou Corne community; install & monitor permanent elevation benchmark at each Geoprobe well location by a professional licensed surveyor;
- Texas Brine must provide Dept. of Conservation with a plan to install a continuous pressure monitor on Oxy Geismar #3- to monitor pressure and provide for telemetry monitoring of this pressure. This telemetry shall be reported in real time to the Assumption OEP , the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the Office of Conservation to notify them if any rapid pressure changes that indicate changing conditions in the cavern.
Texas Brine says they are wheeling and dealing with DNR. They also say the sinkhole didn’t expand (!!!)
David J. Mitchell of the River Parishes bureau at The Advocate, in relating this story, has interesting extra details:
While the order lays the blame on Texas Brine’s cavern, Patrick Courreges, DNR spokesman, said Friday, the order does not deal with reimbursement of agency costs or establish legal liability.
He said the order deals with Texas Brine’s required response and establishes a basis for the response.
“The Louisiana Office of Conservation on Thursday night placed the blame for a 4.2-acre sinkhole, gas trapped in an underground aquifer and other events in northern Assumption Parish on the owner of a failed salt cavern inside the Napoleonville Dome.
Commissioner James Welsh ordered Texas Brine Co. of Houston to assess and abate threats to public safety and the environment caused by the failure of the cavern on the dome’s west side, including gas in the aquifer.”
Oct. 16, 2012 – ULTIMATUM DATE EXPIRES – the one for the 16th. Not a peep from Texas Brine. Maybe they think they did their bit. Looks like the same ol’ same ol’ to us!
8 p.m. – It looks like Texas Brine MET the first half of the order due today. The VENT WELL MAPS are out.We can’t find a thing about the 2nd half – the Oxy Geismar #3 deal. But we’ll keep an eye out!
DNR issues an update as if everything’s peachy and doesn’t mention Texas Brine(!).
Oct. 17, 2012 – DNR & Texas Brine mum on the feud. Jindal gets a big smack down from Louisana Supreme Court. His judge nominee, Jeff Victory, got nixed. Texas Brine is doing some vent well construction at the site but not doing anything about putting in monitoring devices on time as stipulated in the DNR order. DNR is looking the other way on this Oct. 16 deadline.
Oct. 18, 2012 – Parish update has a link with some Texas Brine drilling permit info (given out begrudgingly). Texas Brine update for Oct. 18 says they put in a casing on a relief well for checking the water, They will use it for logging water status so it looks like they come in compliance ON TIME for the Oct. 19 ultimatum
Oct. 24, 2012 – TICK-TOCK, TICK-TOCK, TICK-TOCK! – Did you hear anyone from Texas Brine say at the meeting last night that they were putting seismic monitors all around the sinkhole, parish or bayou areas with tremors? Texas Brine’s latest update doesn’t mention any seismic monitors. They have hours to get that done. They seem to still be running around getting homeowners to give permission for access for their water testing wells.
Oct. 25, 2012 – No notice on the parish blog that DNR has an announcement about new seismic monitoring equipment they told Texas Brine to put in by today. The update has some USGS info (p. 16) saying there are 6 monitors placed there. So maybe that is all they want there. DNR not complaining. We’re calling this “complied with” for now. We are doing the same for Oct. 16 ultimatum as the DNR isn’t asking Texas Brine to get that Oxy Geismar #3 live monitor to them. They must already have it.
Nov. 1, 2012 – Now Texas Brine is fighting with GOHSEP. David J. Mitchell reports for The Advocate:
Assumption Parish and Texas Brine Co. officials issued estimates Wednesday that disagree on how much land a 5.5-acre sinkhole swallowed during the slurry hole’s eastern-bank collapse Tuesday.
Parish officials offered an estimate Wednesday nearly 19 times the size of their initial estimate on Tuesday, while Texas Brine officials suggested Wednesday the amount of land that crumbled into the sinkhole actually was a bit less than the parish’s initial estimate.
The dispute dates back to Tuesday, when the parish announced that 1,600 square feet of land fell into the sinkhole about 4:45 p.m. that day. Wednesday, parish officials raised their estimate of the land loss to almost as much as 0.7 acre, or 30,000 square feet.
Nov. 2, 2012 – IT CONTINUES! Parish, Texas Brine continue size dispute (!!!)
Nov.7, 2012 – The Office of Conservation isn’t waiting for Texas Brine to look after community safety. They are enlisting The Shaw Group for venting the gas underground. And just now have ordered wider testing due to discovery of natural gas not very deep down. They have announcement about it on the parish blog.
Office of Conservation Calls for Cooperative Effort in Methane Testing of Bayou Corne Structures
[snip] . . . “That monitoring-well network has detected underground natural gas at low pressure in an area shallower than the primary aquifer, which indicates a need for additional tests to look for potential presence of natural gas in structures built directly on the ground surface. For homes and structures built on supports that make space between the base of the building and the ground surface, natural air flow prevents interior accumulation of natural gas”
THEN . . . Texas Brine wakes up out its stupor and begins flaring gas 24 hours a day. It was just during daylight. Did they get inspiration from the DNR? They say they had to wait for equipment to arrive.
Nov. 11, 2012 – Texas Brine gets handed a BILL DUE IN 30 DAYS.
State Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell issued a demand letter to Texas Brine Co. LLC and Occidental Chemical Corp. seeking payment for $3.47 million in costs run up by state agencies dealing with an Assumption Parish sinkhole emergency. . .
Nov. 12, 2012 – DNR FED UP! They issue new marching orders to Texas Brine. Lots of details: Office of Conservation Orders Texas Brine to Take Further Steps to Protect Public Safety
Directive specifies network of observation/vent wells, monitoring wells, subsidence benchmarks and home monitoring
Plus it looks like Texas Brine is going to MISS the Nov. 13 ultimatum. Plus they didn’t pay up yet.
DNR says Texas Brine has complied with the order (Nov. 15).
They sent a letter to Texas Brine laying out all the tasks, amended tasks and they are satisfied with Texas Brine’s response. Lots of details in the letter. Here’s Texas Brine’s Community Monitoring Plan. < Has lots of diagrams and a new map.
OOPS! NOT SO FAST!
DNR just issued a Fourth Amendment to Declaration of Emergency and Directive with a whole list of stuff for Texas Brine to do!!
Nov. 21 – Hydrogen Sulfide in the water at the sinkhole makes DNR’s Conservation Dept. mad as Texas Brine forgot to tell them about it for 24 hours. To put an end the that Conservation Commish, James H. Welsh, fires off a letter to Texas Brine telling them to tell them next time. There.
Our SCORE BOARD so far.
Dec. 1 – DNR is hoppin’ mad at Texas Brine! They say they failed to comply with the directive and are handing out a $100,000 fine. The stickler is the 4th amendment to the directive. Here’s the marching orders from DNR – “Notice of Levy” sent to Texas Brine. A lot on the directive is commented on by Idahopicker at the end of part one and in part two of his 3-part video.
Dec. 2 – Texas Brine tells The Advocate they will have something to say (through their lawyer) on Monday (12-3). Oh, boy! WAFB has a good summary: [Conservation Commissioner James] Welsh says the company’s too slow in three areas:
- installing air monitors and improved ventilation in slab homes around the sinkhole
- installing a system to prevent more waterway contamination
- and drilling new wells to burn off natural gas
Dec. 4 – The Assumption Parish Police Jury approved a resolution was approved requesting that Texas Brine consider providing the option of a buyout or relocation to the residents of Bayou Corne. AND they put out an order that Texas Brine can’t change or modify their orders from DNR.
Dec. 5 – Tug of war between DNR and Texas Brine over issue of residents’ homes getting a buy out offer.
Dec. 8 – DNR orders Texas Brine to do more, deeper monitoring with two 6,000 foot wells. It is “in response to Texas Brine’s plan for Conservation-ordered geophysical modeling and expansion of seismic monitoring in the area, which Office of Conservation staff reviewed and found insufficient. . . “
Dec. 11th came and went without Texas Brine paying that big fine ($100,000).
Dec. 17 – The Office of Conservation, under the DNR, lobs another fine at Texas Brine. Office of Conservation Fines Texas Brine Additional $160,000 for Continued Failure to Comply With Directives
Dec. 19 – Texas Brine releases an update outlining the problems they encountered trying to get all the things done by Nov. 12th that DNR wanted. They didn’t mention the fine or if they will pay it.
Jan. 4 – Texas Brine Comes Out Swinging
The Advocate –
Texas Brine balks at order
Lawsuit filed to block La. Conservation Office directives
By David J. Mitchell
Texas Brine Co. LLC has asked state District Court in Baton Rouge to permanently block the Louisiana Office of Conservation’s latest directives compelling new investigations into the underground effects of an evolving, 8.5-acre sinkhole in northern Assumption Parish.
The Houston company challenged in court the underlying emergency and factual basis for the Dec. 7 directives and alleged an administrative hearing should have first been held by Louisiana Conservation Commissioner James Welsh.
Filed Dec. 28 in 19th Judicial District Court in East Baton Rouge Parish, the six-page suit asserts the state’s move ignores “more reasonable, scientifically sound and safer methods for accomplishing the goals” identified in Welsh’s order.
The suit disputes the need for the order’s various directives, including the drilling of two 6,000-foot-deep seismic exploratory wells near the sinkhole, which Texas Brine argues could increase the risk of danger to the public and environment.
Under the disputed order, drilling on the first of those wells — aimed at identifying voids in a collapse zone under the sinkhole and the spaces’ ability to hold released methane gas — was set to start Jan. 15. (more)
Jan. 5 – Texas Brine ponies up –
“. . . during the Christmas break, the Houston-based company paid another $100,000 in fines issued Dec. 1 by the state office over similar response delays, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources said Friday.” – The Advocate
Jan. 7 – Texas Brine states its case to The Advocate. They say they expect to lift the evacuation soon and restore residents to their homes.
Boy, do they AGREE! Almost no news for over a month!
Feb. 22 – D.C. isn’t that mad at Louisiana – President Obama signs La. disaster declaration for Jan. flooding
Mar. 9 – Texas Brine resumes updating after a long hiatus. Dept. of Conservation gets a notice that Texas Brine takes issue with Directives 1-3 and will let their lawyers do the talking on those. They are a little testy that they are burdened with having to give DNR so much data. “. . . previous daily summary reports issued to LDNR have included significant duplicate information as there is a fair amount of overlap in the information requested in each of the Directives included in the September 25, 2012 order.”
April 1 – No word in these past months about Texas Brine paying any fines!
April 4 – WBRZ reports on the big bill Louisiana owes Washington – Federal aid unaccounted for, La. could foot half-billion dollar tab
This is why Jindal won’t approach Washington for federal aid in our opinion.
May 20 – Jindal orders review of all Texas Brine permits – Gov. cites company’s ‘inability to meet’ commitments < VIDEO Texas Brine issues idiotic letter to residents (whose ruined homes they refuse to buy). They hem and haw and try to blame their insurers.
May 21 – Freedomrox exposes DNR & Texas Brine. “. . . the LDNR, Conservation, and LDEQ, that permitted, encouraged, and helped cover up the problems Texas Brine knew it had already caused, and all involved covered that fact up; are now working in tandem to fix the cover-up. . . “
July 15 – The Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Texas Brine break out into a mini-feud over the depth of Lake FUBAR. John Boudreaux, Dir. of the A.P. Office of Homeland Security, went out to the middle of Lake FUBAR and dropped a a sawed-off crowbar in tied to a measuring tape and it went about 400′ deeper than Texas Brine’s depth survey said.
Nov. 8 – Obama is coming to New Orleans. That should be interesting –
WBRZ – Jindal offers list of suggestions to president < HE’S going to tell Obama what to do!
Nov. 9 – Obama reprimands Jindal over stingy Medicaide deal, doesn’t meet with him. Jindal glowers but not too proud to nab $91.7 million from Obama for Isaac repairs.
Dec. 29 – Texas Brine has to come up with ‘Plan B’ because their berm road keeps cracking and sinking.
Jan. 1 – Officials looks the other way while Texas Brine patches things up during a no work order.
Mar. 26 – There was a big deadline for Texas Brine to come up with a new plan by April 30th in the tacked on amendment (#10) to the DNR emergency declaration.
May 18 – No word on if they complied to DNR’s satisfaction.
Aug. 13 – Assumption Parish officials get fed up with Texas Brine foot-dragging on Lake FUBAR monitoring etc.. They want Texas Brine “…to conduct new tests to further assess conditions in the vicinity of the company’s Oxy Geismar 2 cavern, located to the east of the failed Oxy Geismar 3 cavern.”. . . because of the constant seismic activity (phrased more delicately). They are motivated to issue an 11th declaration telling them what to do.
From page 3 of the report –
“It is clear to the BRC [Blue Ribbon panel] that there are ongoing stability dynamics in the pillars between Oxy caverns 1, 2, 3 and 9, inducing stress changes and salt disturbance that generate micro ‐ earthquakes (MEQs) in that salt volume and pressure changes connected between caverns.“
So to address that and other issues the #12 Declaration says they have to “abate threats to human safety” … blah, blah at Oxy 3 and by NO LATER THAN JAN. 12 submit a work plan on how that is all going to be done to Steve H. Lee, the director of the Injection & Mining Div. at DNR.
On Oct. 9th, the very day the Blue Ribbon Report came out, Texas Brine put out one of their optimistic fact-sheets about how things are at Lake FUBAR and how the berms are being shored up etc. On Oct. 30 they put out one that touts their well plugging. Their fact-sheet for Dec. 4 has more updates but no mention of the Blue Ribbon Report etc.. Dec. 18 they say the western edge of Lake FUBAR is perfectly stable — the edge the Blue Ribbons were hand wringing over. But over Christmas that’s the part of Lake FUBAR that went nuts.
Jan. 12 – the BIG DEADLINE for Texas Brine to deliver their work plan.
There isn’t a ‘letter to the DNR commissioner‘ posted in the last 11 mos.. We don’t see their plan but it might be it isn’t posted yet. They are subject to civil penalties if they are late. Texas Brine had 20 days from Nov. 19 to ask for a public hearing if they couldn’t make the deadline. That came and went on Dec. 10.
Jan. 22 – Texas Brine scolds the Blue Ribbons and claims Lake FUBAR is fine and is not getting bigger/deeper.
Feb. 3 – Looks like the Washington is fed up with Jindal. He never paid the big Katrina clean up bill (fed loan) and now the piper gets paid. Federal budget would cut revenue for Louisiana
“Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama have shared in about $30 million a year from GOMESA, mostly revenue from the eastern Gulf. But starting in 2018, revenue from the far more productive central Gulf would come under the law, which caps the total share for all four states at $500 million annually from that point forward.”
The budget is proposed, not passed at this stage.
[Scroll up to April 4, 2013 post for backstory]
Feb. 18 – In a turnaround, Texas Brine says “screw this!” to paying evacuated residents. They say all is safe at the unstable sinkhole community. Other shoe didn’t drop.
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