Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Industry-Caused Sinkhole Expands, Swallowing Trees Whole and Threatening Louisianians

EcoWatch

By Laura Beans

Last August, a toxic sinkhole was discovered in the swampland of Bayou Corne, LA, 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. More than a year later the sinkhole continues to expand, and has now been measured at 24 acres across, eight times its original size. The Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness was able to capture the gurgling crater in action on this recent video, as it devours whole trees, sucking them down into its watery depths.

Texas Brine, a Houston-based petrochemical company, is being held responsible for the disaster after one of its salt mines collapsed. The company excavates for salty brine, which is used in in the refining processing of petrochemicals in facilities nearby. 

The state of Louisiana is suing Texas Brine for environmental damage. As Julie Dermansky writes on DeSmogBlog, citizens have either accepted buyouts or joined a class action lawsuit against the company. The area has been under mandatory evacuation since Aug. 3, 2012, and no one is sure if it will be safe to inhabit again.

Geologists believe that brine and other liquids were forced vertically out of the salt cavern, fracturing rock toward the surface and causing the sinkhole, reports Mike Ludwig, in Truthout. The collapsing mine ruptured underground oil and natural gas deposits, releasing the hydrocarbons and contaminating the local aquifer. 

Texas Brine has not admitted fault, and continually places blame on other factors. Officials from the company call the Bayou Corne sinkhole "unprecedented."

As the anniversary of the sinkhole's discovery comes and goes, the land around it continues to change and shift, and no one knows if this man-made environmental disaster will keep spreading or if it can be stabilized at all.

Visit EcoWatch’s WATER page for more related news on this topic.

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Ministry of Trade issued a regulation revoking its decision from February to no longer require Indonesian timber companies to obtain export licenses that certify the wood comes from legal sources. BAY ISMOYO / AFP / Getty Images

By Hans Nicholas Jong

The Indonesian government has backed down from a decision to scrap its timber legality verification process for wood export, amid criticism from activists and the prospect of being shut out of the lucrative European market.

Read More Show Less

Viruses, pollution and warming ocean temperatures have plagued corals in recent years. The onslaught of abuse has caused mass bleaching events and threatened the long-term survival of many ocean species. While corals have little chance of surviving through a mass bleaching, a new study found that when corals turn a vibrant neon color, it's in a last-ditch effort to survive, as CBS News reported.

Read More Show Less
Harmful algal blooms, seen here at Ferril Lake in Denver, Colorado on June 30, 2016, are increasing in lakes and rivers across the U.S. Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post / Getty Images

During summer in central New York, residents often enjoy a refreshing dip in the region's peaceful lakes.

But sometimes swimming is off-limits because of algae blooms that can make people sick.

Read More Show Less
A group of doctors prepared to treat coronavirus patients in Brazil. SILVIO AVILA / AFP via Getty Images

More than 40 million doctors and nurses are in, and they are prescribing a green recovery from the economic devastation caused by the new coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) and Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte shake hands during an event to launch the United Nations' Climate Change conference, COP26, in central London on February 4, 2020. CHRIS J RATCLIFFE / POOL / AFP / Getty Images

The U.K. government has proposed delaying the annual international climate negotiations for a full year after its original date to November 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
The Upcycled Food Association announced on May 19 that they define upcycled foods as ones that "use ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment." Minerva Studio / Getty Images

By Jared Kaufman

Upcycled food is now an officially defined term, which advocates say will encourage broader consumer and industry support for products that help reduce food waste. Upcycling—transforming ingredients that would have been wasted into edible food products—has been gaining ground in alternative food movements for several years but had never been officially defined.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A couple has a lunch under plexiglass protection designed by Christophe Gernigon at the H.A.N.D restaurant, on May 27, 2020 in Paris, as France eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. ALAIN JOCARD / AFP via Getty Images

By Thomas A. Russo

As restaurants and bars reopen to the public, it's important to realize that eating out will increase your risk of exposure to the new coronavirus.

Read More Show Less