​Sinkhole Buyouts From Texas Brine​​

By: | 03/18/2013 10:24 AM ET

Sinkhole victims will soon get buyouts after the collapse of an underground salt cavern operated by Houston-based Texas Brine Co. LLC, which extracted brine and piped it to nearby petrochemical facilities.

Sinkhole Buyouts

The cavern failure released oil and natural gas from formations along the salt dome face, affecting nine acres.

“They caused the situation. They’ve got to make this right,” Jindal said after a closed-door meeting with company leaders.

About 350 people living in the area have been under an evacuation order and many of them displaced for more than seven months, with no immediate end in sight.

Gov. Bobby Jindal said Texas Brine plans to send out appraisers beginning Monday to help determine residents’ interest in the voluntarybuyouts and to assess the value of homes in the area — or to discuss settlements with those who choose to stay.

The sinkhole opened up in August near a community along Bayou Corne, a sparsely populated area of swampland about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge.

“What we’re looking forward to is trying to get some relief for the residents of Bayou Corne who have been fighting this for seven months, who have been relocated, living in trailer parks and other locations outside their home. And we want these people to have the financial wherewithal to be able to relocate and move on with their lives,” said Assumption Parish Police Jury President Marty Triche, who attended Wednesday’s meeting.

Jindal said he didn’t have any estimates of what buyouts or settlements for the 150 homes in the evacuation area could cost Texas Brine. He said the company pledged to complete the appraisal and assessment process within weeks.