Declare Toxic Sinkhole a Federal Emergency

sinkhole

Target: President Obama

Goal: Declare the Assumption Parish sinkhole a federal emergency and assign a federal team of experts to help with relief efforts.

Seven months ago, a giant sinkhole suddenly appeared in a rural part of Louisiana known as Assumption Parish, caused by a failing salt dome owned by Texas Brine Co. LLC. The sinkhole now threatens to combine with another collapsing salt dome. Louisiana Governor Jindal has made very few public appearances on the issue and is widely criticized by residents of the affected community for not doing enough to help them and mitigate the disaster.

Now, months after the appearance of the Assumption Parish sinkhole, the risk has escalated tremendously and response to the crisis is urgent. Texas Brine, LLC has a second failing cavern that now threatens collapse and is located less than 200 feet from the first salt dome’s outer wall. If this collapse occurs, a new sinkhole will form and combine with the existing sinkhole, releasing massive amounts of hydrogen sulfide, a highly toxic, flammable and corrosive chemical compound. This critical point in the development of the sinkhole crisis is made even worse by the uptick in seismic activity throughout the area which many believe could result in a major earthquake stemming from the area where Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee all meet.

The sinkhole was left unacknowledged by the governor for several months and Texas Brine was permitted to block directives made by the Louisiana Office of Conservation to halt its developments. Now that the risk of the situation has heightened, it is critical that the federal government becomes involved to increase available resources and help in relief efforts. Louisiana has finally released a contingency plan after learning about Texas Brine’s second failing cavern, but this is not enough. The plan offers few proposals for mitigating the sinkhole and effective relief efforts. The effects of the sinkhole now threaten multiple states and the federal government must intervene immediately.

PETITION LETTER

Dear President Obama,

The threat posed by the giant sinkhole caused by a failing salt dome that suddenly appeared in Louisiana seven months ago has now increased in urgency. It threatens to combine with another collapsing salt dome, potentially releasing large amounts of harmful chemicals and impacting fragile fault lines in the area.

The sinkhole has been growing at a faster rate and eats acres of land a week. It leaves behind toxin-filled lakes which threaten public safety. For months, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal ignored the Assumption Parish sinkhole, even after it became clear that locals needed to evacuate the area for their own safety. A contingency plan is now in place in the sinkhole disaster area, but it is not sufficient to deal with the crisis. The second failing dome is only 200 feet from the edge of the collapsing Napoleonville salt dome.

The sinkhole now potentially threatens multiple states and needs to be declared a federal emergency. You must increase the resources available as well as bring much needed national attention to the crisis. A federal team of experts is needed to help the state and other effected areas with relief efforts, as the state has proven itself unequipped to do so on its own.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Photo credit: Assumption Parish Police via Flickr

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