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Tremors in the area recently forced work at the Assumption Parish Sinkhole to halt, but they aren't the only forces of nature blowing into town this week. Famed legal clerk and biopic subject Erin Brockovich will be in Pierre Part to address residents of the massive 9-acre sinkhole.
Brockovich is scheduled to be at the Pierre Part American Legion Hall (3336 Highway 70) at 4 p.m. on March 9. Not to be confused with Julia Roberts, Brockovich infamously spun a lack of legal education into a 1993 victory for residents of Hinkley, California, who faced contaminated drinking water as a result of a nearby natural gas pipeline. After representing other Californians in environmental suits, the 52-year-old went on to do some screen time of her own. She was host of Final Justice, and Challenge America with Erin Brockovich.
About 250 residents of Bayou Corne remain evacuated since August, when an underground salt dome owned by Texas Brine LLC collapsed and pulled a huge swath of land along with it. The area continues to grow, having pulled in another 50X100 ft. section on Feb. 12. Video from a Friday flyover shows the sinkhole resembling a large pond, rather than the slurry area of rock, mud and debris that was once present. In the fall, scientists said the collapse of the 1,500 ft. deep salt cavern provided a potential pathway for oil and natural gas to the area's drinking water as the sinkhole continued to burp and shake. Texas Brine has since drilled vent wells to let the noxious chemicals out of the ground. There have also been concerns about toxic chemicals in the air.
Displaced residents are pushing for buyouts of their property, which the state is set to consider during the upcoming legislative session.
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