Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Sinkhole panel to follow 'aggressive' schedule

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BATON ROUGE- A leader of the panel recently appointed in response to the Bayou Corne area sinkhole says the group will follow a "very aggressive" schedule to make recommendations on when evacuated residents can return to their homes.

Gary Hecox stressed the need for quick work at the 13-member group's first meeting on Friday at LSU.

The Department of Natural Resources says this should help bring certainty to the community.

"We're caught between that sense of urgency to get these people back home, but the answers and the science have to be right. We can't be wrong. We can't say it's close enough, it's got to be these are the marks that say safety," said Patrick Courreges.

Parish leaders are thankful for the extra set of hands.

"We think we have the right people on board now to give us the answers and give us the recommendations we need from a parish level to protect the safety of our citizens," said parish president, Marty Triche.

About 350 people in Assumption Parish have been under evacuation orders since Aug. 3.

Scientists believe the sinkhole formed after the collapse of an underground salt cavern where Houston-based Texas Brine extracted brine for petrochemical facilities. The failure also led to the release of oil and gas.

Gas has been found in a major underground industrial water source and under some homes.



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