Bayou Corne residents wonder what it will take to get more help

Photo provided by staff.
Monday, June 17, 2013 - 7:38pm

Some people living in Bayou Corne don't want to be forgotten. Residents said They are worried state officials are losing interest in their cause. They explained they've heard a lot of promises, but after 10 months, they've seen little results.

"It's been 10 months, and we are still in the same place as we were 10 months ago," Johnny Ruiz, Bayou Corne resident, said.

"We feel like our entire community is expendable," Kenny Simoneaux, Bayou Corne resident, described.

Simoneaux wants to forget about a massive sinkhole and gas bubbles that plague his community. He said he doesn't feel like he can trust state leaders like Governor Jindal.

"They'll hang a carrot out in front and give you a little hope and jerk it away from you , and everybody is getting so frustrated," Simoneaux stated.

Over the past 10 months, he's seen Governor Jindal help out other communities. Communities like Donaldsonville and Geismer during two explosions at two different plants.

The disasters reminded Simoneaux how things can change in an instant.

Now he's worried about his own community.

"This was a bad gamble on the part of big business. We've had no fatalities yet," Simoneaux stated.

Johnny Ruiz lives in Bayou Corne. Ruiz feels the state isn't doing it's part to help get the community back to normal. He scared things will get worse before more help arrives.

Ruiz explained,"Probably somebody is going to have to die. Somebody is going to fall in the sinkhole and die. Then we are going to get. Oh man you are going to see every agency over here. You are going to get a response then. "

Emergency officials say the community is safe.

Still, Simoneaux believes it will take more than buyouts to heal the Bayou Corne community.

"Jindal made statements that if they (Texas Brine Company) didn't come across with offers and fair reasonable offers he would look into pulling their permits. It's time for that to happen," Simoneaux stated.

"I don't know if the governor can help. I think it might have to be on the federal end. I think it needs to go past the governor into federal hands," Ruiz added.

Shannon Bates, with the Governor's Office, issued a statement:"Texas Brine's long overdue decision to finally offer buyouts was welcome news, but we've always said the proof will be in the results. Although the company has made offers to a majority of the residents who requested buyouts, we are continuing to push Texas Brine to ensure this situation is made right for homeowners as quickly as possible. As part of that process, we are continuing a complete review of the permits issued to Texas Brine in connection with its operations of salt cavern wells in Assumption Parish, as well as all permits issued to Texas Brine throughout the State. The review is being conducted in order to determine if such permits should be modified, revoked and reissued, or terminated."

Texas Brine officials say they have given out 83 offers as of Sunday. They confirmed some of those offers had been accepted; however, they declined to given an exact amount of acceptances.

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