Louisiana Sinkhole: From the Frying Pan into the Fire

I am itching to explain the findings of the new geo-technical data that Don Marlin has so graciously provided, as well as many other findings, but at this time, another more pressing matter must be addressed for the sake of the residents who actually heeded the ‘Mandatory Evacuation’ and vacated the area over 13 months ago.

In the following video, a question is asked by Mr. Mike Schaff, and it is a most urgent and pressing question.

Mr. Schaff: “Sir, one of the stipulations for it to be safe for the evacuation to be called off, was that; the sinkhole to be stabilized, the caverns to be stabilized, and the gas within the aquifer was to be at, or below hydrostatic pressure. What I am hearing tonight is that these stipulations will change. Am I correct?”

Speaker: “That is what is being presented by these scientists, some of which are Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission, and the Blue Ribbon Commission has been tasked to make that offer, or to make that call. So they have found something with that MiPht, and, and, and all the other tests, that says there is a lot of gas at the shallower depths, but ultimately the BRC are going to be looking very closely at the results of this effort, and then they will convene and have the responsibility to make that call.”

(Click ‘PLAY’ and then click on the top left corner, left of ‘Playlist’ and select Video #8. Start at the beginning of this Part 8 video to hear the exchange)

Now for those that haven’t followed this strange and disconcerting development, allow me to explain. Scientist’s have come up with the brilliant ‘Old’ idea of using a dual phase vapor extraction system (DPVE) to de-water the areas surrounding the Bayou Corne subdivision, and thus, they believe will relieve the methane pressures by intercepting the gas at the 20-30 ft. level underneath the whole entire neighborhood, using only four of these monstrous dinosaurs, which is normally used to clean up soils that have been contaminated by ruptured gas or petroleum tanks buried under the ground. Here is a picture of just one of these monstrosities:

Dual Phase Vapor Extraction Monster (1)

(Photo courtesy of The Advocate)

http://theadvocate.com/home/7049897-125/vacuum-system-alleviates-methane-buildup

(ASIDE: How would you like to live next to one of these four proposed DPVE pumps and their backup generators running 24/7?)

I will shortly go into why this system is doomed to fail, but the harder question is one of the sudden shift in policy, especially since not ten minutes prior to these statements, Dr. Gary Hecox stated that this will not be over until the gas has been emptied from the MRAA (aquifer).

Essentially, they are hoping this system will work to make it safe to return to the neighborhood for those who have to tend to their evacuated properties for maintenance, and for those remaining there, to feel somewhat safer. In that regard, I applaud their efforts. However, it does not truly affect the situation that gave rise to the Mandatory Evacuation in the first place.

The DPVE does not affect but a small area of concentration, hence the reason four of these extraction units must be strategically situated around the neighborhood, and does nothing to alleviate the other methane and VOC’s escaping all around the subdivision and it’s attending swamps. Also, and unless scientist’s have devised a way to create a DPVE 30 acres long and 30 acres wide to sit over the area of the sinkhole, then there shall be no alleviation of the copious amounts of raw hydrocarbons, gases, and other materials being emitted by the sinkhole mining disaster proper.

None of this low technology addresses the subsidence zone that is expressing itself west of the mining disaster and sinkhole either. The subsidence area is progressing at it’s own pace and is unstoppable. As the ground subsides, ever increasing water levels are noted, and will always follow the subsidence, whether it is one foot or ten makes no difference if your house is under water. No plans to address this have been even considered the last thirteen months.

Actually, this seems to be another shot-in-the-dark experiment to see if it has any effect whatsoever on the neighborhood, so that the benchmarks can be changed by the Blue Ribbon Commission from a stable state system of hydrostatic pressure of the methane gas within the aquifer, to one of shallow area gas extraction, in order to allow the Mandatory Evacuation to be cancelled, and to sound the ‘All Clear’ for residents to return to their homes and say they are safe.

This is a fairy tale. Considering the voluminous amounts of evidence of the Blue Ribbon Commission and their admittedly incestous ties not only to the Solution Mining industry, but specifically of their career-making, or ending connections to the Texas Brine co-founded Solution Mining Research Institute, as proven in an earlier article;

Louisiana Sinkhole: SMRI and Blue Ribbon Commission’s Conflicts of Interest

then it would be the height of stupidity for these very Commission members to weigh in on a very unproven technology contained within the parameters of this poorly understood geology, and seriously adverse environmental conditions, to even entertain the notion of recommending the lifting of the ‘Mandatory Evacuation’ without years of study to back up those claims.

To illustrate the almost insurmountable difficulties in establishing that no gases of any kind are escaping the DPVE’s range of operations, then let’s look at what the advantages and disadvantages of the dual phase vapor extraction methods are:

Advantages:

  • Proven performance over a wide range of conditions. Requires no downhole pumps, but is flexible enough to allow their use if necessary.
  • Minimal disturbance to site operations; can be used under buildings without excavation.
  • Short treatment times (usually 6 months to 2 years under optimal conditions).
  • Substantially increases groundwater extraction rates.
  • Can be applied at sites with free product, and can be combined with other technologies.
  • Can reduce the cost of groundwater treatment through air stripping within the vacuum extraction tube.

Disadvantages:

  • Single-pump systems are expensive to implement at sites with medium to high-permeability soils, and effectiveness. Dual-pump systems may not be effective in low permeability soils.
  • Difficult to apply to sites where the water table fluctuates unless water table depression pumps are employed.
  • Treatment may be expensive for extracted vapors and for oil-water separation.
  • Large volume of extracted groundwater may require treatment.
  • Requires specialized equipment with sophisticated control capability.
  • Requires complex monitoring and control during operations.

Courtesy of the EPA: http://www.epa.gov/oust/cat/dualphas.htm

Although I share the concerns of many of the Evacuees, and of those not evacuated, then I say to please pay attention and evaluate every utterance of the Blue Ribbon Commission and to seriously critisize any communications coming from their end, but please remember, that ultimately, the decision is not up to the Governor, the BRC, or anyone else, other than as John Beaudreaux stated, and that the final decision is up to the OEP, and in the end to the Parish President Marty Triche, whom have all publicly stated that if they feel it is not safe to lift the Mandatory Evacuation Zone, then they are prepared and willing to face down all comers in court to ensure the safety of the public, and not just the residents by themselves.

This man made mining disaster has put into consideration the ultimate fate of Hwy. 70, subsidence rates in other areas of the Parish, (such as the continually sinking roadway on Hwy. 69, just before it intersects with Hwy. 70), and the motoring public that uses this major artery between Morgan City and Baton Rouge. Since this will most likely continue on for years, and please remember that every time a Scientist has opened his mouth with a prediction thus far, that Mother Nature has proven how very little they truly understand about the nature of this mining disaster that has stolen the very lives of so many people in the region.

So, until that time comes, I do not feel that it is very likely that ANYONE will call for the Order of Mandatory Evacuation to be lifted, and most especially not because of an Electrolux solution that amounts to another untried experiment within the bayous of Bayou Corne.

electrolux

Photo courtesy FlyingCuttleFish of the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle

Again, I may be wrong, and the BRC will turn on the residents like rabid dogs, but there are way too many other considerations on the line that prevent such a proclamation to even be uttered in the coming year, and would still do nothing to mitigate the damages already suffered over the last 13 months, and will make absolutely no difference in the ongoing court cases. Legally, the damage has been done, and no mitigation measures on earth can restore the damages of the last 13 and a half months.

Louisiana Sinkhole: WHO KNEW? EVERYONE! EXCEPT THE VICTIMS!

sh6

“This is an unprecedented event, and no one knew this could ever happen.”

That is the catch-phrase that has been mouthed by Louisiana State Office of Conservation, and Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.

Dr. Gary Hecox of Shaw, (CB&I now), first stated this, and it has made the rounds of Texas Brine’s Sonny Cranch, Patrick Couregges, all the way down to John Beaudreaux with Assumption Parish’s Dept. of Homeland Security, Office of Emergency Preparedness. Except it is a known lie.

In this short article I will attempt to show you all the evidence that puts the lies to the lips of the various speakers making this absurd claim. Although an unprecedented event, it was actually absolutely expected….

Before I do though, let’s just take the short path and I will state my conclusions now, and then allow you, the reader, to make up your own minds as to the veracity of these scientific papers and the evidences contained within before forming your own conclusions.

It is a known and proven fact that Sandia National Laboratories, (A Member of the Solution Mining Research Institute-Texas Brine Co-Founded), knew that Hooker #8 (Now Oxy Geismar #3), was laying upon the shale sheath as well since 1995, since they are also a Member of SMRI, as shown in a previous article.

It was doubly confirmed when a SONAR survey of 2007 of Oxy 3, (Vulcan 3 then), showed a pronounced straight line deformation in its sonic profile.

Yet, this slowed neither the State, nor Texas Brine none at all. Still they mined this Cavern, and used it up to the fullest extent, then…looked for another way to keep extracting brine. They had a hard nailed 30 year contract, and were absolutely determined to meet this far flung contract. Their Company’s name, reputation, and reliability depended upon this contract being fulfilled, and Texas Brine is still trying to accomplish this goal today.

Once the operational life of Oxy Geismar #3 was at an end, It seems ever more self-evident that Texas Brine knew what was happening with Cavern 3, and made plans in 2010 to abandon Cavern # 3 in favor of milling out an upper cavern starting at 2280 ft. down 100 ft. to 2380 ft. and at best, only 300 ft. of salt existed at 2280-2380 ft. from the outside of the dome, and at worst only 100 ft. of salt separated the dome from the outside shale, and a normal mill out pressure is initially approximately 1500 psi at depth or 0.8 psi per foot of depth, (per Regulations) which would create a cavity of approximately 100-200 ft of open space (horizontally, and at least 100 feet in vertical height) around the wellbore casing using freshwater. It is my contention, and the opinions of others far more experienced than I am, that the salt was breached into shale and shattered the nascent Down Thrown Fault Block forming just outside the Salt Edge,  and thus setting off this nearby fault line in the shale, which was truly the beginning of this entire disaster. The shale sheath protecting Cavern 3 fractured as a result of this Mill Out, and cavern pressures were immediately noted to be dropping.

Is this conjecture? Absolutely not.  This was known as a possibility many years ago, as proven by this entitled publication, ‘Failure rates for underground gas storage’ published in 2008.

Here is an excerpt, “2.2.1 Discussion Two cases of problems encountered at salt cavern facilities (Clovelly and Napoleanville, Louisiana) were due to insufficient site characterisation [Evans, 2007], with the caverns having been built too close to the edge of a salt dome such that there was not enough salt ‘buffer’. In terms of the UK, this is not really an issue onshore, as there are no halokinetic structures developed. However, similar problems may be caused in cases with a previously unknown large fault, producing an offset of the bedded salt beds, that might be close by a facility, potentially intersecting or impacting on the cavern walls. In several of the other incidents, where no release occurred, the shape of the cavity has changed over time due to the operating technique employed at those particular sites. Had operators been monitoring data such as the cavity volume, cavity pressure or stored gas volumes, these situations may not have occurred. Adherence to the European Standard [BSI, 1998c] would require a facility operator to monitor and record these data.”

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr671.pdf

Please take special note of Page 8 Section 2.2.

We can even go back much further, to

acavernsketch1997a

Although LDNR and Conservation have stated this was Oxy #1, it is most certainly not, for Oxy #3 is the westernmost cavern on the Napoleonville Salt Dome since 1982 until it’s breach out in August 2012.

Now that it has been firmly established that Louisiana State Dept. of Conservation, Texas Brine, Occidental Chemical, and Sandia all knew caverns were mined too closely to the Salt Edge, thereby having insufficient salt buffers, and that no prevarications can change the simple fact that every one of the entities named above are all members of the Solution Mining Research Institute, and that these and many more papers were required reading, then we are left with only one conclusion. The breach out of Oxy #3 was the culmination of Willful Negligence, and a total disregard for the Public Safety. These ‘Officials’ and Corporations and LLC’s participated in the wanton destruction of the geology and ecology of a very large region of Assumption Parish, and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law after a complete investigation….one that cannot be conducted by the very State Authorities that are herein named, so it must be a Federal Investigation into corruption, conspiracy, cover-ups, and illegal business practices.

Again, the only person to have actually performed their job and raise the alarm was Mr. Mark Cartwright, President of United Brine, when in his letter of January 21, 2011, when he stated;

TXBRDNRII

Instead LDNR, Conservation, did not pay heed to the warning, and ordered Oxy Geismar #3 Plugged and Abandoned in the full knowledge that this was dangerous in the extreme, under these circumstances. Official’s are as much, if not more responsible for this disaster, as is Texas Brine/Oxy, for they were in a position to know better.

Yet, this isn’t the worst of it….because much worse seems to be taking place. Remember the shattered fault block that has caused all the seismic activity? Unfortunately, it is setting off a natural process, that if left on it’s own would not have occurred for another thousand years or more, yet set in motion by Oxy and Texas Brine’s unbridled greed. I will allow those more studied than I, to explain.

NEO-TECTONIC FRAMEWORK OF SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA   AND   APPLICATIONS TO COASTAL RESTORATION

“The relationship between regional faults and salt domes appears to play a role in activation of faults. The buoyant salt maintains its vertical position along the cracks. 
Differential movement between the low-density salt and down-building of overlying and adjacent sedimentary deposits appears to have a wedging (space creating) effect on the faults, which may initiate brine water and gas movement up fault planes. The water and gas in turn may lubricate the fault plane surfaces and cause instability along fault segments. Brine and gas may also cause vegetation changes at the surface and indicate areas of active or potential movement. 
Localized natural and anthropomorphic events that may trigger fault movement include flood and storm water loading, compaction, dewatering and fluid withdrawal. Removal of oil, gas and produced water may cause localized subsidence and fault movement (White and Tremblay 1995, White and Morton 1997, Morton etal. 2002). Compaction, consolidation, and diagenesis of Holocene sediments also contribute to the overall subsidence rate. 
Adjustments to vertical changes resulting from these processes appear along fault lines.”

This is what the State and Texas Brine/Occidental have created artificially. If you want to know what happens next….all you need to do is read the observations in this one White Paper. (Excerpt Page 2-15)

Excerpt #2:
“Surface effects of fault movement have occurred, and in some instances appear to be continuing, along other fault zones (e.g., Penchant, Lake Hatch, Lake Salvador, Thibodaux, Lac des Allemandes, and Frenier Fault
Zones) north of the Golden Meadow Zone.” (Excerpt Page 2-7)

http://www.coastalenv.com/NEO-TECTONIC_FRAMEWORK.pdf

Intensive study should be done immediately to find the nearest Regional Fault leading away from the Napoleonville Salt Dome heading west and even to the south east, for there is little doubt that the localized fault set off by the unconscionable actions of Texas Brine and the State Govt., is now branching out and seeking a path of least resistance to the regional fault closest to it. If that is allowed to happen then rapid subsidence is very possible in the days and months ahead.

In light of the voluminous amount of information, and in an abundance of caution, the Parish President should order a ‘FORCED EVACUATION’ of Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou.

END OF PART 1

GeologyPreSinkhole

http://tinyurl.com/aurdts2

Louisiana Sinkhole: Dramatic Footage of Collapsing Sinkhole

Another Slough In from 6:30 AM 8/22/2013

(The Police Jury is now using playlists, so Fast Forward to the end, and the next will begin. The dramatic Slough In is currently three vids deep)

For a better understanding of how this monster began and the controversy surrounding it, please visit: http://freedomrox.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/louisiana-sinkhole-jindals-folly/

and

http://freedomrox.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/louisiana-sinkhole-comedy-of-errors-or-intentional-gamble/

Louisiana Sinkhole: SMRI and Blue Ribbon Commission’s Conflicts of Interest

aug13_bermfail

SMRI and Blue Ribbon Commission’s Conflicts of Interest.

 by: Freedomrox

As much as the Corporate Program known as “Responsible Care” is plastered on the Water Tower near Bayou Corne, and is a global initiative for every Corporate Member at the Napoleonville Salt Dome, but is not associated with Texas Brine in any way, except for the fact they are members along with every Company that does business on the Dome, yet is often misunderstood as being Texas Brine’s motto. Of course, as we’ve seen responsible care is the last thing to be associated with Texas Brine, LLC.

That is not the case with the Solution Mining Research Institute, which was actually Co-Founded by Texas Brine.  

Yet again, almost every single Company at the Dome is a Member, as is many of the Service Companies, and Support Services are shown to be Members of the Solution Mining Research Institute. It seems to be a prerequisite to doing business there.

 What is much more disturbing is the fact that nearly half of the Members of the Governor Bobby Jindal’s appointed Blue Ribbon Commission are also Members of the Solution Mining Research Institute, (SMRI), or closely affiliated. These incestuous relationships call into question the objectivity of such a Commission whose lion’s share of it’s members owe allegiance to a Texas Brine co-founded Solution Mining Research Institute, and yet one that owes no allegiance at all to the people of Grand Bayou/Bayou Corne. 

This is shameful and disingenuous at best, but, of course, that is only one man’s opinion.

At the website of the Institute, are some disturbing admissions, such as;

The Solution Mining Research Institute (SMRI) is interested in the production of salt brine and the utilization of the resulting caverns for the storage of oil, gas, chemicals, compressed air and waste” (sic)

as well as;

SMRI has the following purposes:

  1. Sponsor and engage in research related to solution mining, cavern storage/utilization, and environmental effects thereof.
  2. Present papers of current interest to the industry relative to solution mining and cavern utilization. For information on presenting papers at or attending our next conference, see ‘CONFERENCES section.
  3. Serve as a technology center and representative for the industry.
  4. Assist in the promulgation of governmental regulations and laws affecting the solution mining industry.”

Number 4 will become very disturbing, very quickly as you shall soon see.

Now, let’s take a look at the Blue Ribbon Commission Members:

Pierre Berest, Ph.D., Research Director at France’s Ecole Polytechnique, member of French Commission for Underground Storage Safety, former president of the Solution Mining Research Institute.

James Linn, Ph.D., Geotechnical consultant, former president of Solution Mining Research Institute, former Underground Storage Technology Manager for Sandia National Laboratories.

John Voigt, Executive Director of Solution Mining Research Institute, President of Voigt Mining and Geotechnical, specializing in salt geology and brine/water inflow evaluation.

Doesn’t look too good so far, does it, but not too damning, until we get to the other members, that is. Please keep this one fact in mind when you see the following names, attached to Sandia National Laboratories, and CB&I, (formerly Shaw Group) for they are members of the Solution Mining Research Institute.

David Borns, Ph.D., Geotechnology and Engineering Program Manager for Sandia National Laboratories, research focused on subsurface monitoring for environmental applications, risk assessments and simulations.

Gary Hecox, Ph.D., Senior Hydrogeologist and GIS Analyst with CB&I, technical lead for CB&I Bayou Corne response team.

Blayne Hartman, Ph.D., Geochemist with Hartman Environmental Geoscience, contributor to regulatory guidance documents on vapor intrusion for EPA and several state agencies.

Now I include Mr. Hartman because of his work with the EPA, which….is a member of the Solution Mining Research Institute. This is not a typo; the Environmental Protection Agency is a member of SMRI.

As for the rest of the Commission, I have no opinion, and not casting aspersions upon any of the members of the Blue Ribbon Commission or their character, nor integrity. However it is apparent that conflicts of interests do arise, especially in light of the information as listed above, and becomes highly sensitive where the Blue Ribbon Commission is concerned, since they have been charged with public safety, and is of immediate concern for the residents, as stated in the Blue Ribbon Commission’s Mission Statement;

“To provide benchmarks for the recommendations, the commission will address at least two key factors, including appropriate conditions to determine sustained public safety and the data needed to assess those conditions. The commission will make recommendations on what the safety benchmarks should be and on when they have been sufficiently met.”

http://dnr.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=newsroom&tmp=detail&aid=1005

Now for information that has absolutely stunned me, and still cannot quite believe, but here it is in black and white and a possible reason why the State seems to be squarely upon the side of industry, especially in light of #3 and #4 of SMRI’s Mission Statement:

Assist in the promulgation of governmental regulations and laws affecting the solution mining industry.”

An alarming statement considering a member of the Solution Mining Institute is:

Louisiana Office of Conservation

Class R Member

Mr. Joseph S. Ball, Jr.

Post Office Box 94275

Baton Rouge, 70804-9275, LA

United States

+1 225 342 5569

Sources:

MEMBERS OF THE BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION

http://dnr.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=newsroom&tmp=detail&aid=1005

MEMBERS OF THE SOLUTION MINING RESEARCH INSTITUTE

http://solutionmining.org/assets/files/120213%20member%20companies%20xls(1).pdf

I leave it to the People affected by this disaster to make their own minds up as to the information contained above. I am merely the researcher and the messenger.

Personally I have grave reservations over any Texas Brine co-founded Solution Mining Research Institute’s abilities to affect the decisions of the Blue Ribbon Commission as well as Louisiana State Government, when it’s members include the key elements of the State and Federal governments that are charged with regulation and safety of the people of the State of Louisiana and beyond.

Now we can understand why all common sense and restrictive bills upon solution mining fall by the wayside. My heart also goes out to the people of Jefferson Island and Lake Peigneur, for AGL Resources is also a member of this very powerful and politically influential Solution Mining Research Institute

 

Louisiana Sinkhole: Jindal’s Folly

PAD3 Stinkhole

Today, May 20, 2013, marked a milestone in Louisiana history, whether anyone knows it or not. Governor Bobby Jindal visited the people of Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou and gave the most hypocritical speech that I have heard in a very long time. Of course, in the world of politics, this is seemingly an everyday occurrence, yet this one took the cake, so to speak.

After listening to Jindal, in spite of his political bluster, stood at the podium and admitted that there was nothing they could do about Texas Brine LLC’s failure to live up to it’s promises and deadlines concerning resident buyouts, other than to issue empty threats about permits. If Jindal really was serious, then he would authorize an official investigation into Texas Brine’s business practices and the many laws they have broken throughout the years…and there have been many!

Of course this will never happen, because then it would implicate Dept. of Conservation, LDNR, LDEQ, and most especially one of the more powerful men in the State, James Welsh, as well as Jindal’s own administration, which included Scott Angelle, the former head of LDNR, who skipped town five (5) days after the initial cave-in August 3rd, 2012.

The “Go To Patsy”, that was forced to follow Scott Angelle; Mr. Steven Chustz, has still not provided an answer as to where the location of 50 salt cavern’s worth of ‘radioactive scale’ for the last 50 years has disappeared to, nor it’s disposition. Also, no word has come from the Senate Committee that asked Mr. Chustz to report on the 1991-1994 cavern injections, or upon the Solka Floc slurry system both LDEQ and LDNR illegally signed off onto. The point is not whether radioactive materials were actually injected, or burned, or simply dumped in a landfill, (which would be a separate crime all upon it’s own), but the fact that the laws of the time were broken and between Louisiana Government Agencies, and Private Companies, constituting Conspiracy, ongoing cover ups, and RICO violations.

http://freedomrox.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/louisiana-sinkhole-state-documentation-reveals-that-radioactive-materials-were-injected-into-five-additional-napoleonville-salt-dome-caverns/

Remember please the dishonest way that Texas Brine, LLC has acted since this disaster first began, as evidenced by Texas Brine LLC’s claim that earth tremors caused the failure of its salt cavern,

 http://theadvocate.com/home/3985701-125/parish-officials-question-findings-by

Parish Officials and Stephen Chustz fired back at Texas Brine’s silly statements, amid a slough-in that opened the caved in sinkhole even further. Texas Brine’s response was that the event never took place.

http://www.texasbrine.com/response/2012-10-15_TBC-Update.pdf

http://theadvocate.com/news/ascension/4300359-123/parish-texas-brine-continue-size

Finally after repeated threats and missing several deadlines, Texas Brine states they will play ball and follow the Directives, and finally sink their first vent well in November, three months after the fact.

http://theadvocate.com/news/ascension/4137075-123/brine-firm-to-comply-with

Conservation brings in Shaw, (now CB&I), which is a partner of Texas Brine’s in the Texas Brine co-founded ‘Solution Mining Institute’, as is;

Sandia National Laboratories

Class B

Mr. David J. Borns

Dept. 6113 – MS 0706 P.O. Box 5800

Albuquerque, 87185-0706, NM

United States

+1 (505) 844-7333.

Does that ring a bell? Isn’t Mr. Borns on the Blue Ribbon Commission? Isn’t Dr. Gary Hecox of CB&I? As is Pierre Berest, Ph.D, James Linn, Ph.D., Geotechnical consultant, former president of Solution Mining Research Institute, and John Voigt, Executive Director of Solution Mining Research Institute. Seems a conflict of interest here. SOCON, and Baker Hughes are all members as well. Dow is a member as well as Sabine Storage & Operations, Inc. from Houston, TX. This will be important in a moment.

http://solutionmining.org/assets/files/120213%20member%20companies%20xls(1).pdf

The point of this article is not just about the incestuous relationships between all operators on the Dome, or the companies that service them, although it is one helluva point all on its own, nor is the point that 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. No, my point has nothing to do with the ‘Foxes guarding the Henhouse’, but maybe it should be.

The point is that from the very start of this intentional gamble to abandon a known failed salt cavern laying outside the salt, and the naked greed it took to perform a mill out above this already known failure, causing this whole imbroglio to begin with, Texas Brine LLC has had pretty much free reign to do as they please with the lives of the people they have employed, used, abused, and helped poison for the last ten months. No Government State Agency has brought them to heel, nor actually held them accountable, for the reasons stated above. Nor will they. Ever.

The real point is that despite Governor Bobby Jindal’s threats and blustering, will not mean a whit in the policy making processes of the Insurance Companies resistance to a precedent-setting and historical decision. What decision, you may ask? The one of paying off the victims of a disaster to the tune of possibly half a billion dollars, before liability has been set forth by a court of competent jurisdiction. That is the one point that cannot be ignored, and I have noticed it being the center of a buzz, and is constantly bandied about on nearly every Insurance blog on the net in the last year.

Think about it; just how much of your daily life is controlled by Insurance Companies? Which industry successfully lobbied for every single person to be forced to carry Auto Insurance, or be fined? Which industry will not even allow a bank loan to issue for your own home, unless you carry homeowner’s insurance? Cargo Insurance, etc, etc., ad nauseam?

If Governor Bobby Jindal was truly serious about helping the people of Grand Bayou/Bayou Corne, then I find myself reluctantly agreeing with Mr. John Achee Jr.’s stance of the Governor pleading for federal assistance to come in and take over this truly un-natural disaster. I know this is not popular with the whole community, and a healthy distrust of the Federal Government, (especially in light of the recent tyrannical scandals of late), is entirely understandable, but please allow me to explain.

With Federal Assistance, the Army Corps of Engineers and their unlimited resources would come into play, as well as the National Disaster Relief Fund, which would place the full resources of the federal government, and State Agencies to the task of finding a true mitigation of this ongoing, slow-motion disaster. Also, buyouts would be handled with Federal and State funds, and it would then be the responsibility of the Feds and the State to sue Texas Brine and Occidental Chemical for reparations, and the burden not be laid at the feet of the resident’s and unintentional victims to recover in long drawn out court battles that may last 10-15 year; which is where this seems to be heading.

Those not wanting to leave should stay in the Mandatory Evacuation Zone and be prepared to suffer any of the consequences of that decision, but those that want to move out of the way of this slow motion train wreck of enormous proportions should be compensated, and allowed to move on with their lives.

I have not even delved into the probable forthcoming victim’s of Pierre Part as the methane has migrated to the western edges of the MRAA aquifer, and damages already being reported in that area. LDNR, LDEQ, and Conservation have completely ignored all complaints and reports, many times with outright lies and obfuscation. This cannot be allowed to go on, and it won’t. More on that in an upcoming article.

I state that if something is not done very soon in respects to the long-suffering victim’s, that a clarion call should be raised that the Governor be impeached, and charges brought against all State Agencies, as well as the Federal Government, for not responding to a National Emergency regarding the Nation’s Energy Supply, and refusing to protect National Security in these regards.

http://www.eia.gov/pub/oil_gas/natural_gas/analysis_publications/ngpipeline/southeast.html

Whether anyone truly grasps the scope and scale of how important this region is to the National Interests and Security is irrelevant, for the State and Federal Government already know and have failed the People of Louisiana, and the People of America, in their lackadaisical response to this highly sensitive area of our energy supplies, as well as ignoring the environmental stability and well-being of a major watershed and wildlife habitat.

The State Agencies involved should be restrained from issuing any further drilling permits, [four (4) in the last ten months for the north, south, and east sides of a water-infiltrated, and fractured Napoleonville Salt Dome], and a permanent moratorium on the design and engineering of any new Solution Mined Caverns anywhere on the Dome should be a part of the Orders and Directives, while allowing the ones already in operation to remain, under close scrutiny. No one is suggesting Corporations should abandon the Dome, (although Gulf South fled it’s Magnolia Facility, and Chevron is in limbo), but until the extent of the damages, and infiltration to the Salt Dome are honestly assessed, then it is not too much to ask that no more caverns should be created until answers are known.

Which brings me to my last point, and one that should outrage each and every one of you, and while still there, should fight with every ounce of energy at your disposal, and that is the recent Public Notice that appeared in the Bayou Journal by Sabine Storage & Operations, Inc. from Houston, TX, and on behalf of Dow Hydrocarbons Resources Inc. All contacts, phone numbers, and mailing addresses are included in this notice, and if you agree, should definitely make your voices heard, and stop this irresponsible and hazardous activity.

DOW LEGAL NOTICE

Just on the off chance no one actually clicks the link above, then please understand that it contains a Public Notice that Sabine, and Dow intend to solution mine another additional cavern to the South East Side of the Napoleonville Salt Dome nearest Napoleonville, La.

 (More may be added to this post as available, and special thanks to the local, who sent me the Bayou Journal notice, and Kenny Simoneaux as well.)

Louisiana Sinkhole: Questions And Answers, And?

(Thanks go out to the Assumption Parish Police Jury for today’s flyover video)

I would like to apologize for taking so long to publish any updates or other news regarding the ‘Great Louisiana Sinkhole’. I have been very busy attempting to help several residents of Bayou Corne and the surrounding areas with various problems, and one of which is another complete article, but I have not received permission to print as of yet.

Before I delve into all of the events surrounding the cave in, or ‘sinkhole’, as you will, I would first like to share with you a series of questions that were submitted to be answered by Dr. Gary Hecox, CB&I, Tetra Tech, etc. and Texas Brine. The updates are very important and relevant, but so were these questions, and since Mr. Sonny Cranch took it upon himself to answer these all by his lonesome; then I figured I should share that first, with commentary. (Sonny Cranch’s answers are in italics, and Author’s commentary in bold type, and all blue enhanced words are links.)

QUESTIONS FOR DR. GARY HECOX and TEXAS BRINE

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 Question 1: Is Oxy Geismar #2 still being mined?

Sonny Cranch Answer 1. “OG# 2 is still being mined.”

 Question 2: If so, then where is the freshwater coming from, since the aquifer is compromised with hydrocarbons and gas?

Sonny Cranch Answer 2. “The production water is regularly monitored and has not been found to contain any hydrocarbons.”

(COMMENTARY: Water Well Samples showing hydrocarbons for Sept. and Nov. of 2012, (link provided below). Did all those isobutanes and pentanes magically disappear? Not according to Dr. Gary Hecox, whom in every presentation has stressed that oil was found to be laying at the bottom of the aquifer, methane gas inundating the top, and small blips of hydrogen sulfide reside in-between within the water-bearing sands. Also, if it was so safe, then why has Water Well #3 remained ‘Locked Out’?)

http://dnr.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&pid=961

Question 3: If not, then why were 42,152 barrels (1.77 million gallons) of brine flowed into Oxy #2 and reported on the 25th? Is this for stabilization, or extraction? (I believe the latter, but brine?). Afterwards LDNR reported that Oxy #2 only had a 73 psi Tubing pressure and a 23 Casing pressure? Instead of pressuring up, it pressured down, and with hardly any resistance at all along the casing, Why? (Aside: This indicates the Cavern was full, and at very low pressures, as the tubing or annulus pressure must be higher than the casing pressure for any well to produce.)

 Sonny Cranch Answer 3. “Not sure what you’re asking.  We did remove brine from OXY 3A and pumped it into # 2 to re-send it out as brine, since there is no connection from Oxy 3A to the brine pipeline.”

Question 4: Has there been a Blow Out Preventer installed on Oxy-Geismar #1 or #3A? Why? Is Oxy 1 still in service? Dr. Hecox reported gas in the Cavern. Why would gas be in the casing or cavern?

Sonny Cranch Answer 4. “Blowout preventers were used on both wells. On OXY 3 A during the tagging operation and on Oxy 1 during the effort to install a geophysical sensor.”

(COMMENTARY: “Any well that is connected to a formation where
gas, oil or salt water exists under pressure may blow out control if the pressure is sufficient to raise the fluid in the well to the surface ” Problems with Oxy Geismar #1 and #2 are well known and documented below. Blow Out Preventers remain on the Wells, but latest reports are that a wellhead nearby Oxy 3A did blow out on May 10, 2013, according to information supplied from several local sources. It is not clear at this time if it was actually 3A, or a BC well, or an ORW well, or even an MRAA well, since they have one of each at the Oxy-Taft #9 Well Pad. What is clear is that Texas Brine contractors hit a ‘gas pocket’, and experienced a ‘kickback’, or blow out, if you will.

“Oxy 3, ¼” bubbling from wellhead”

Oxy 2 Catch Basin bubbling first noticed January 21st, 2013

 (Go to 3 minutes of the video above to hear Dr. Hecox’s statement. Regarding the Oxy 1 seismic array; “It turned out that because of gas and noise, it was not viable.”)

Sonny Cranch did not Answer… as to why gas would be in Oxy Geismar #1, although it has to be vented, sometimes twice a day since before the sinkhole first appeared, and a Blow Out Preventer, (BOP), installed before the removal of the seismic array.

Nor will anyone state what gas was involved. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination here to understand which gas though. Question most likely is; where exactly is the fracture in Oxy #1?

 Question 5. Is it true that just on the East Side of Grand Bayou, on Occidental property, that a six foot section of brine pipeline had to be replaced because of a stress induced rip on the underside of the line? Doesn’t this indicate subsidence? What are you doing to address this?

Sonny Cranch 5. “You’ll have to check with the pipeline operator about that issue.  We have nothing to do with that.”

(COMMENTARY: So subsidence anywhere else that could affect the stability of any of Texas Brine or Occidental’s brine wells/caverns is of no concern to Sonny Cranch or Texas Brine, nor does the status of any brine pipelines? Considering Texas Brine is the Operator of several wells just north of Occidental’s Brine Wells on the East Side of Grand Bayou, and the Oxy-Taft Wells #9 and 10 are serviced by PB Energy for Occidental next to Oxy Geismar 1, 2, 3A, and with brine wells criss-crossing each others, does not compute, or did you just miss the memo? Mr. Cranch does not seem to actually understand Directive 6, to wit; “TBC understands Directive 6, which directs TBC to immediately report the results (final and preliminary) of any tests, logs samples or data collection performed on Well 3A, the cavern, other wells, facilities or site locations that indicate a change in any previously known conditions related to the investigation of the subsidence or natural gas bubbling events, and continue to report any such results. The Daily Action Summary and the Results related to this Directive can be found in Attachment section of this report.)

Question 6. Why is Crosstex being allowed to store so much product in Cavern 2? Butane was ordered out of the cavern, and was accomplished, then propane put back into it at odd times, and now a mixture of butane and propane, or LPG is now reported to be stored in Crosstex Cavern 2 to the tune of 84,375 barrels (3,543,750  gallons) of LPG mix, and highly explosive if a casing ruptures due to seismic activity. Shades of 2003 Dow/Gulf South Incident?

Does this not seem to be highly irresponsible and a violation of the Directive ordering all butane out of Cavern 2?

2-1-13 – A sample of a small bubble location was taken with Shaw to determine if the site is swamp gas or not.” Crosstex Daily Reports

The results have never been released to date, and is unknown if a fracture exists on Crosstex Property, and if this was the impetus of their recent court action against Texas Brine.

Sonny Cranch Answer 6. “Crosstex is not storing any gas products in any of Texas Brine’s caverns, nor is anyone else!  You’ll have to direct those questions to Crosstex.”

(Commentary: Mr. Cranch seems to forget these questions were directed at Dr. Hecox and Texas Brine, and never mentioned Texas Brine caverns, but Crosstex Cavern #2, but seems really touchy in his response…hmmmm. Curiouser and Curiousor.)

Question 7: Why are there no vent wells over the aquifer to the east of the sinkhole? (Seems this is finally in the works, but to be placed where?)

Sonny Cranch Answer 7. “Well ORW 27 was installed east of Grand Bayou and no gas found during well logging. The well has been reworked in an effort to develop gas. No gas is currently present in ORW27. ORW 35 was installed south of ORW 27 and will be logged Friday May 3.”

(Commentary: This seems partially true, if Mr. Cranch doesn’t consider carbon monoxide as a gas, as reported from ORW 27, but as far as methane goes…understood. What I do not understand is if there is no gas to be relieved in the aquifer east of the sinkhole, then why would Texas Brine spend all that money to put in another well just south of ORW 27? He is one confusing mouthpiece. to be sure.)

Question 8: Since Texas Brine stated that no other source exists for methane and that Hooker Oil Well #1 formation is depleted, then how do you explain ORW 32 blowing it’s top and the whole casing coming 140 ft. out of the ground?

Sonny Cranch Answer to 8. “As for your other question about an event at one of the vent wells north of Hwy 70 (can’t remember the # you cited), there has been no such event.  You might want to check your source.”

(COMMENTARY: Mr. Cranch, the Well # is 32, Observation/Relief Well # 32. You seem to remember all Well #’s so far, but since these were written questions, then taking a moment to re-read it does not seem to be too much of an imposition. Several Residents were passing by on Hwy. 70 when ORW 32 popped it’s top and sailed 50 ft. into the swamp and the casing, which was sunken 160′ below ground, came rising up from the ground. It is amazing to me, that you know nothing about it, since several Tetra Tech employees were watching the spectacle as well.

I also find it very interesting that in my question above, never once did I state the location of the well, but, I do thank you for the confirmation… because yes, it was North of Hwy. 70. (In other words, thanks for the slip up, sir. No one believes you, and thanks for demonstrating why.)

These questions were submitted in writing at the last Resident’s Update meeting and answers were received from Sonny Cranch on May 3rd. Since that time two more questions were added, but to date Dr. Hecox has not been allowed to respond to these questions at all, and since Dr. Hecox immediately handed the questions over to Patrick Courreges, then it is entirely possible he has never seen any of the above questions.

Two Additional Questions from the Resident’s and Victims of Texas Brine’s irresponsible judgments.

 Question 9: How can Texas Brine state that the ‘Big Hum’ is responsible via Hooker Oil Well #1, when all lab tests have shown that the samples in the sinkhole do not match the ‘Big Hum’?

 Question 10: How can a NW/SE facing 4,000 image section of a 1.6 million image 3D prove anything? Only a direct West Facing view looking towards the East, could possibly show any voids, or even cavern outlines, since a brine filled cavity is readily visible on any seismic survey. From the angles shown by the Texas Brine report…that is impossible.

Now, that was the end of our question and answer portion of this article. Now it is time for a few answers to burning questions. One of the most asked questions recently is how on earth Texas Brine could have allowed the older Western Berm to breach out, after they had touted that it would last for 20+ years? Simple, they did so intentionally. What?, you may be asking? I do believe this to be intentional, or a happy circumstance for Texas Brine, at the very least. Allow me to demonstrate.

Despite Sonny Cranch’s assurances above that the MRAA Water Wells are free of any contamination from hydrocarbons, all DEQ reports, and Dr. Gary Hecox claim otherwise, and is bourne out by the fact that Oxy Geismar Water Well #3 has been and has stayed in ‘locked out’ status, except possibly on days when LDNR does not even bother to submit a report. Don’t believe that statement?

OK, find May 7th report from LDNR, I dare ya. Now this brings us full circle to the real question. If Texas Brine cannot use the MRAA aquifer for brine production, and Oxy 2 is still in operation, then where did the water come from to mine the Oxy 2 cavern?

LDNR reports suggests the answer, and above Sonny Cranch informs us of where these ‘produced waters’ are coming from.

Significant drop in water level within berm from last visit (April 8th). Inside of berm is approximayel 2-3′ lower than outside berm. (sic)

“Western portion of Pad 3 continues to slide/slump into sinkhole; approximately 2.5′ elevation drop from stable land to subsided portion of Pad 3.” 4/28/2013

The last part of that report was added just to allow you to know the horrific conditions on the east side of the sinkhole and how much they have deteriorated in the last 3 months. Well Pad 3 is shot, so now a new pad has been built at and close to Oxy 2 and behind the old Oxy 3 cavern to drill another 1000 ft. Geophone well in the salt to replace the seismic array that was in Oxy 1 before gas and noise forced it’s removal.

Back to the topic at hand, and that is where is the ‘production waters’ for Oxy 2 coming from? Sonny Cranch claims it is coming from the remains of Cavern 3 that collapsed, and only has 105 ft. left until completely full. I have done the math, and if even some brine was left over, which is highly doubtful since much of the brine contained within the failed salt cavern; supposedly emerged near the surface of the sinkhole and is the cause of the high levels of salinity three times the amount of salt contained in sea water below 75 ft. in the sinkhole itself.

So, what is the answer? According to Occam’s Razor, “When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Taking this into account as well as a near three foot drop in the sinkhole Lake’s waters as reported by LDNR within 20 days, then most likely Texas Brine has a direct communication between the Lake Oxy above, and Oxy Geismar #3A well, which they recently spent thousands of dollars to ‘work over’ and reopen for the alleged purpose of ‘tagging the bottom’ of the failed #3 cavern. Sonny Cranch himself stated above, “We did remove brine from OXY 3A and pumped it into # 2 to re-send it out as brine, since there is no connection from Oxy 3A to the brine pipeline.

It seems obvious to me, that a simple pipe to connect Oxy 3A to the wellhead and pipeline at Oxy 2 would have been easy to accomplish if that was truly the reason, and considering the very small space left in the failed OG Cavern #3, infiltrated by oil, gas and now brine, could not possibly hold 1.77 million gallons of brine. You, dear reader, must be the ultimate judge, for I can only report my findings to you. My investigations have turned up another oddity concerning the source of the mysterious ‘production waters’. The transfer in question between Oxy 3A and Oxy 2 took place on the 22nd of April, and LDNR reports clearly show all Water Wells were ‘Locked In”.

Additionally, the North and South Berms were geo-matted, and clayed in and neither of them failed in any manner, yet the old western berm was left un-touched and even two 12″ inch pipes were installed on May 7, 2013, (Hold it! Isn’t that the day that LDNR failed to report?), near the corner of the west and south berm intersection for the express purpose of re-filling the sinkhole waters that had lost 3 feet of water in 20 days? Honestly, to me, Texas Brine’s intent seems clear.

That two days of flooding rains overwhelmed the old western berm is of no surprise to anyone, and fortuitous it seems for Texas Brine for obvious reasons. This was confirmed, at least to my satisfaction, by Texas Brine’s response by slave driving their workers in the middle of a lightning rich thunderstorm to repair the smaller breaches of the western berms, but halted work to repair the largest breach of 75 ft. and are allowing it to “equalize/stabilize” the bayou and sinkhole waters. This speaks volumes….of “Production Waters”, that is.

Texas Brine plans to allow the berm area to fill with water before repairing remaining breaches.

Much more later, for the story actually becomes even more bizarre over in Pierre Part, La.