Giant Louisiana sinkhole in Bayou Corne. Photo taken April 23, 2013 (Source: Assumption Parish Police Jury)
GRAND BAYOU, LA (WAFB) -
Just two days after a federal court approved a class-action lawsuit for people impacted by the giant Louisiana sinkhole, the company responsible for the salt cavern that caused the sinkhole says they're ready to begin making settlement offers to affected residents.
On March 13, Texas-Brine, the Houston based company that owns the salt dome, announced it would begin assessing the homes and offering buyouts and settlements for the 350 people evacuated.
To date, no buyouts have been offered. As of May 16th, Texas Brine indicated that 110 residents have requested settlement forms; 102 residents have submitted claim information sheets; 97 properties have been inspected; and five properties remain to be inspected.
According to the Associated Press, Texas Brine spokesman Sonny Cranch says 23 settlement offers were ready and officials were contacting those residents Friday afternoon and Saturday.
News of settlement offers comes just days after Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order to review the company's permits with the possibility of revocation - because of the company's slow response to residents seeking buyouts.
Sonny Cranch, the spokesman for Texas Brine, said the company found out in the eleventh hour its insurance carriers were not in support of the buyout process.
Friday afternoon, Texas Brine released a statement saying "We will move forward with the effort to reach settlements with members of the Bayou Corne community affected by the sinkhole," said Bruce Martin, Texas Brine's vice president of operations.
"We understand the frustration of the community and appreciate their patience as we worked through the unexpected delays in this process," said Martin.
"While not every resident has chosen to participate in the settlement process, Texas Brine is committed to offering fair and reasonable settlement offers to those who may wish to move," said Martin.
"Offers will begin with residents who have expressed an interest in settlements and have completed the inspection and appraisal process." said Martin.
It's been almost a year since a massive sinkhole near Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou began causing problems. Bubbling in the bayou led to the now 15-acre sinkhole. About 350 people have been forced out of their homes since August.
A New Orleans attorney is handling the class-action suit. There has not been a response from Texas Brine about the lawsuit.
The sinkhole grew by three acres last month, bringing its total size to about 15 acres.
It has been nine months since hundreds living near the giant sinkhole were forced from their homes.
Bubbles were spotted in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou in June 2012. Two months later, the ground opened up and left a nine-acre sinkhole. Residents were evacuated and have been for the past seven months. Most affected residents began receiving weekly checks from Texas-Brine in the amount of $875 per week.
Tuesday, February 25 2014 8:00 AM EST2014-02-25 13:00:21 GMT
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Officials said a new bubbling site has been discovered near the massive sinkhole in south Louisiana. The bubbles were seen on Grand Bayou. More >>
Tuesday, February 18 2014 12:21 PM EST2014-02-18 17:21:55 GMT
Officials will address concerns at the site of the massive sinkhole in south Louisiana. Texas Brine will hold a public meeting in Assumption Parish next week. It is scheduled to take place at the TexasMore >>
Officials will address concerns at the site of the massive sinkhole in south Louisiana. Texas Brine will hold a public meeting in Assumption Parish Tuesday.More >>
Tuesday, January 14 2014 6:51 AM EST2014-01-14 11:51:44 GMT
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More information will be given Tuesday about current efforts to contain the giant sinkhole in south Louisiana. The focus will be on those vent wells siphoning gas from beneath the ground.More >>
Wednesday, January 8 2014 6:28 PM EST2014-01-08 23:28:12 GMT
The company that accepted responsibility for the giant Louisiana sinkhole in Bayou Corne claims an insurance company has put them in a hole.Texas Brine filed a complaint with the state insurance departmentMore >>
The company that accepted responsibility for the giant Louisiana sinkhole in Bayou Corne claims an insurance company has put them in a hole.More >>
Tuesday, December 24 2013 8:41 AM EST2013-12-24 13:41:01 GMT
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Work is once again on hold at the giant Louisiana sinkhole after workers found another crack in the levee.More >>
The Assumption Parish, LA sinkhole continues to grow. The ground opened up on August 3, 2012 and residents were evacuated from their homes. Click here to see the photos from August 2012 until now.More >>
The Assumption Parish, LA sinkhole continues to grow. The ground opened up on August 3, 2012 and residents were evacuated from their homes. The sinkhole, or slurry, is consuming land and trees. Many images are from the Assumption Parish Police Jury. Click here to see the photos from August until now. More >>
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