Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Jindal to visit sinkhole, push for buyouts

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BATON ROUGE - Governor Bobby Jindal's office said he plans to visit the site of the Bayou Corne sinkhole next week, and push for buyouts of property affected by evacuations in the area.

Jindal met today with Assumption Parish President Marty Triche and other parish leaders to discuss the status of the sinkhole. Triche told News 2 it was a very "informal" meeting, and the governor agreed with his department heads that a buyout was the best course of action.

Jindal's office said the governor would meet Wednesday with representatives from Texas Brine, the company which owns the land the sinkhole appeared on, to push for expedited buyouts. He would then schedule a trip to the Bayou Corne community next week.

"It's time for Texas Brine to step up and do the right thing for the people in Bayou Corne," Jindal said in an emailed statement.

Jindal's office also said contingency plans are in place in case there are developments with a second salt cavern next to the one which collapsed. Recent surveys from the Department of Natural Resources showed the two caverns' walls may be about 200 feet apart, much closer than originally estimated.

Jindal said there's no data which suggests a cavern failure is happening or imminent, but they "are not taking anything for granted."

"Since December, we have been taking steps to monitor the second cavern to determine how close it is to the edge of the salt dome. Tests are ongoing, and by the end of April, the Department of Natural Resources will have more data to better determine the structural integrity of Oxy-Geismar No. 1," Jindal said.

News 2's Mike Steele will have more reaction from Assumption Parish leaders and details on the governor's plans tonight.


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