May 1, 2013 3:39 PM by Tonya LaCoste
A bill that would require an environmental impact study to be done before AGL Resources expands a salt cavern under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish passed the Senate Committee on Natural Resources. "We need to protect residents in the area from any potential threat this could cause," said Sen. Fred Mills (R-Parks). "We've seen what's happened to the folks in Bayou Corne and we saw what happened to the residents of Lake Peigneur 33 years ago," he said in a press release. Mills is referring to the 1980 disaster at Lake Peigneur, a few miles west of New Ibeira, when a drilling rig drilled through a salt mine, causing the lake to open and consume its surroundings.
AGL Resources is asking for a permit to expand the cavern to store natural gas. Senate Bill 200 would require an environmental impact study which would focus on the cavern's proximity to the aquifer. Mills says his bill would protect Iberia Parish residents from a potential sinkhole disaster like the one that has driven 150 Bayou Corne households out of their homes since August. "In Bayou Corne, it has been suggested that a cavern was placed to close to the edge of the salt dome and external pressure caused a collapse, filling the sinkhole with millions of cubic yards of earth," Mills said.
The full Senate will now consider SB 200.