Giant Louisiana sinkhole in Bayou Corne. Photo taken April 23, 2013 (Source: Assumption Parish Police Jury)
GRAND BAYOU, LA (WAFB) -
Just two days after a federal court approved a class-action lawsuit for people impacted by the giant Louisiana sinkhole, the company responsible for the salt cavern that caused the sinkhole says they're ready to begin making settlement offers to affected residents.
On March 13, Texas-Brine, the Houston based company that owns the salt dome, announced it would begin assessing the homes and offering buyouts and settlements for the 350 people evacuated.
To date, no buyouts have been offered. As of May 16th, Texas Brine indicated that 110 residents have requested settlement forms; 102 residents have submitted claim information sheets; 97 properties have been inspected; and five properties remain to be inspected.
According to the Associated Press, Texas Brine spokesman Sonny Cranch says 23 settlement offers were ready and officials were contacting those residents Friday afternoon and Saturday.
News of settlement offers comes just days after Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order to review the company's permits with the possibility of revocation - because of the company's slow response to residents seeking buyouts.
Sonny Cranch, the spokesman for Texas Brine, said the company found out in the eleventh hour its insurance carriers were not in support of the buyout process.
Friday afternoon, Texas Brine released a statement saying "We will move forward with the effort to reach settlements with members of the Bayou Corne community affected by the sinkhole," said Bruce Martin, Texas Brine's vice president of operations.
"We understand the frustration of the community and appreciate their patience as we worked through the unexpected delays in this process," said Martin.
"While not every resident has chosen to participate in the settlement process, Texas Brine is committed to offering fair and reasonable settlement offers to those who may wish to move," said Martin.
"Offers will begin with residents who have expressed an interest in settlements and have completed the inspection and appraisal process." said Martin.
It's been almost a year since a massive sinkhole near Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou began causing problems. Bubbling in the bayou led to the now 15-acre sinkhole. About 350 people have been forced out of their homes since August.
A New Orleans attorney is handling the class-action suit. There has not been a response from Texas Brine about the lawsuit.
The sinkhole grew by three acres last month, bringing its total size to about 15 acres.
It has been nine months since hundreds living near the giant sinkhole were forced from their homes.
Bubbles were spotted in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou in June 2012. Two months later, the ground opened up and left a nine-acre sinkhole. Residents were evacuated and have been for the past seven months. Most affected residents began receiving weekly checks from Texas-Brine in the amount of $875 per week.
Tuesday, April 1 2014 7:05 AM EDT2014-04-01 11:05:22 GMT
The giant sinkhole in south Louisiana isn't getting any smaller, which is evident by more land being swallowed up recently. New video was posted to YouTube Monday by the Assumption Parish Police Jury.More >>
New video posted to YouTube shows bubbling, and then a chunk of land on the sinkhole's eastern side sinks underwater.More >>
Thursday, March 27 2014 1:13 PM EDT2014-03-27 17:13:55 GMT
Officials said the giant sinkhole in south Louisiana swallowed more trees Wednesday afternoon. The Assumption Parish Police Jury said there was a burp and slough-in around 3:25 p.m. Officials said debrisMore >>
Officials said the giant sinkhole in south Louisiana swallowed more trees Wednesday afternoon following a burp at the site.More >>
Monday, March 17 2014 1:08 PM EDT2014-03-17 17:08:03 GMT
The public will have a chance to hear what's going on at the giant sinkhole site in southeast Louisiana. Texas Brine said there will be an operational update meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the command trailerMore >>
The public will have a chance to hear what's going on at the giant sinkhole site in southeast Louisiana.More >>
Wednesday, March 12 2014 3:38 PM EDT2014-03-12 19:38:37 GMT
There is new information being released about recent bubbling in a bayou near the massive sinkhole in south Louisiana. Texas Brine, the company responsible for the sinkhole, reported scientists determined theMore >>
Texas Brine, the company responsible for the sinkhole, reported scientists determined the new bubbling site is the result of swamp gas and is not related to the giant slough in nearby.More >>
Tuesday, February 25 2014 8:00 AM EST2014-02-25 13:00:21 GMT
Officials said a new bubbling site has been discovered near the massive sinkhole in south Louisiana. According to the Assumption Parish Police Jury, bubbles were spotted on Grand Bayou, which runs alongMore >>
Officials said a new bubbling site has been discovered near the massive sinkhole in south Louisiana. The bubbles were seen on Grand Bayou. More >>
The Assumption Parish, LA sinkhole continues to grow. The ground opened up on August 3, 2012 and residents were evacuated from their homes. Click here to see the photos from August 2012 until now.More >>
The Assumption Parish, LA sinkhole continues to grow. The ground opened up on August 3, 2012 and residents were evacuated from their homes. The sinkhole, or slurry, is consuming land and trees. Many images are from the Assumption Parish Police Jury. Click here to see the photos from August until now. More >>