May 7, 2013 3:57 PM by Tonya LaCoste

Iberia & Vermilion leaders support Sen. Fred Mills' "salt cavern" bill

The New Iberia mayor, Iberia Parish Sheriff and the Vermilion Parish Police Jury are asking lawmakers to consider passing 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. They have all sent letters to legislators supporting Senator Fred Mills' bill. Mills said he drafted the bill to protect residents from any potential threat. AGL Resources is asking the state for a permit to expand the cavern to store natural gas.

"Approximately 4,000 residents live within three miles of the at-risk Jefferson Island salt dome beneath Lake Peigneur. An incident at Lake Peigneur would displace eight times the number of people affected at Bayou Corne," Vermilion Parish President Nathan Granger said in his letter to legislators. In her letter to lawmakers, New Iberia Mayor Hilda Curry cites potential contamination to the Chicot Aquifer, which provides drinking water not only for her residents, but most of Acadiana. "If the Chicot Aquifer is contaminated, the devastation will be irreversible," she said.

Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal believes the salt domes under Lake Peigneur are fragile and wants more testing and studies. "I'm not a scientist, I'm not an environmental wacko, I'm a sheriff who is concerned about the people and the homes around there," he said to a KATC reporter in March.


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