Feb 21, 2013 8:06 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

State Officials Investigate Bubbling Lake Peigneur

The state is taking a closer look at what residents say are bubbles in Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish.

The departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality took samples from Lake Peignuer today to find out what is causing the bubbles.

Last night, public officials, residents and other groups spoke out against AGL Resources, which wants to expand natural gas storage below salt caverns under the lake. Residents fear it could be another disaster waiting to happen--like the current sinkhole in Assumption Parish.

Residents near Lake Peigneur are already on edge since a 1980 accident involving an oil drilling rig. A miscalculation sent the rig's drill directly into the salt mine instead of under the lake. The whirlpool that was created swamped several acres of land and was strong enough to swallow barges from a nearby canal.

Fast forward to today--this is AGL's second attempt to get its permit. Several concerned residents want AGL's permit denied.

"We have unknown bubbling, it's definite. There's no two ways about it," Nara Crowley, President of Save Lake Peignuer, Inc. said.

Crowley is worried that the bubbles indicate big problems, and she's against AGL's proposed expansion of an underground natural gas storage facility.

"They should deny this permit. We should have the environmental impact statement we've always asked for because that's all we've ever asked for, and stop this project," Crowley said.

"If we get a big sink hole what's going to happen? We don't know. The previous accident in 1980 took in 150 acres of land, What's this one going to do," concerned resident David Lecompte said.

DNR says that its investigation into the bubbles is not related to AGL's permit process. But what they find out could have an effect.

"We want to get to the bottom of it too, and discover if this is something that requires some action, or if it's something that ends up being harmless. It might be something that needs to be acted on," Patrick Courreges, Department of Natural Resources, Director of Communications said.



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