In 1980, A Drilling / Mining Screw-Up Drained Lake Peigneur In Minutes…Let’s Do It Again
|Today we are going to share the amazing story of Lake Peigneur, a peaceful place in Louisiana that was completely drained 1980 by a mining / drilling “accident”. It was the kind accident that happens, for example, when you text and drive. In the process of telling it, if you stay interested, we will explain how Louisiana’s history of extraction related catastrophes is repeating itself on two fronts in Louisiana as we speak. The results could be spectacular.[ Jump right to CatMap’s Lake Peigneur page for a video of the event. You won’t believe it, and you won’t believe you never heard about it. ]
In November of 1980, Diamond Crystal Salt Company was busy mining away in the salt dome beneath Lake Peigneur as they had been doing for years. On the lake, a Texaco drilling rig was looking for some oil. The engineers operating the rig made a miscalculation which resulted in a 14″ drill bit ramming through the roof of the salt mine. Lake Peigneur drained into the salt mine. The whole lake.In the process, a whirlpool formed and sucked the drill bit and eleven barges down into the cavern. Geysers shot up from the depths. Today, it’s a completely different lake, saltwater not fresh water and much larger. The botanical gardens that graced Jefferson Island are now on the shore and have opened up to the public again only recently.Today, beneath the new Lake Peigneur, an Atlanta based company name of ACL is mining away at the salt dome for the purpose of storing methane. They are attempting to expand their operations, which some crazy paranoid liberals think is a bad idea. Let’s hollow out the salt dome some more. A Louisiana Senate bill was proposed that would prevent further exploration for 5 years. The purpose of SB200 was to protect the 5 parishes that use the Chicot aquifer, their only source of water. The citizens were under the impression that they have a right to clean water, but they are mistaken. All rights accrue to the petroleum industry in Louisiana (and most other places to be honest). The bill was defeated by a margin of 19 to 17.
Now we move on to the Assumption Parish sinkhole, a much different kind of sinkhole story than you might imagine. Since August 2012, 350 former citizens of Bayou Corne have been evacuated from their homes and they are not going back ever. Also like Lake Peigneur, this is not a natural disaster. It’s another petrochemical industry “accident” and it also involves a private company using public resources as they see fit. In this case, Texas Brine, LLC. mined out a salt cavern too deeply, with similar results
In the most recent developments, “that thing” in Assumption Parish continues to eat away more land. Meanwhile, Big Talkin’ Bobby Jindal finally visited the Bayou Corne disaster area and all but admitted there was nothing he could do except talk real tough. You could almost hear the petroleum industry puppeteers in the background having a good chuckle. Meanwhile, The Department of Transportation and Development said they’re studying the area around the sinkhole for a possible alternate highway in case La. 70 gits eaten up. Wonder who will pay for that? Read the full story of the Assumption Parish sinkhole here.
*Along with education.