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.


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,


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.)


 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 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’?)


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.