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La. Sinkhole National Sacrifice Zone

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On the 200th day of the 8.6 acre La. “sinkhole” disaster area mandatory evacuation, when residents and officials packed the largest Senate committee room at the State Capitol and spilled into a second room for overflow, locals begged state legislators to persuade Texas Brine Co. LLC to buy their homes, conceding to another American sacrifice zone for the oil and gas industry.

Oil and Gas industry human rights violation

“Texas Brine has taught me more about purgatory and limbo, and I went to Catholic school, than the nuns could,” Candy Blanchard told legislators at a meeting in Baton Rouge, saying she will never feel safe at home again, according to Michelle Millhollon at the Advocate.

Aside from the core right to life, “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property,” according to Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which the U.S. is a signatory. The US Constitution makes international treaties the law of the land, trumping national, state and local laws. The U.S., however, frequently violates such treaties, especially since the reign of George Bush II.

Texas Brine officials said the company is discussing with its insurance company buying out locals. Those locals have been impacted by the world’s unprecendented oil and gas industry mega-disaster.

The Louisiana House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment met with Senate committees on natural resources and environmental quality to hear from officials and the public about the historic event that began on May 30 with a phone call about a natural gas leak in Bayou Corne.

Locals then reported unnatural bubbling in their bayous. Thousands of earthquakes were occurring, that stopped abruptly and briefly on August 2, the day before the large “sinkhole” slurry area was discovered.

A mandatory evacuation of 150 residences in the area was declared, forcing locals to become energy refugees. Some began living in camper vans at Pierre Part. At least one of these refugees lives in her car. 

More locals evacuated when methane was discovered not only in the two Cajun bayous, Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou, but also under their homes and elsewhere in the communities balancing above the 1-mile by 3-mile Naploleonville Salt Dome storage facility.

Some of the disaster area residents, however, still remain, testing fate of a house explosion, as time and again, people in neighboring state Arkansas have experienced from fracking-related house explosions.

(See: The Fracked Faulkner Cover-up: House Explosions, Suicides, Miscarriages)

Dr. Gary Hecox, a geologist with CB&I, formerly Shaw Group Inc., said “the cavern still is collapsing” and it will take more than a year to fill the hole, according to the Advocate

Crude oil and related carcinogenic hydrocarbons continue spewing from “the hole,” spreading as far as a half a mile into nearby waterways and communties. Methane continues lurching in the bayous and under homes. 

Tuesday, CB&I was to complete its $3 billion acquisition of Baton Rouge-based Shaw Group Inc., so Shaw will no longer be listed in Standard & Poor’s MidCap 400, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. Shaw, an engineering, construction and fabrication company with about 27,000 workers worldwide, has 4,000 workers in Louisiana, with approximately 1,000 in Baton Rouge. CB&I, with corporate offices in The Woodlands, Texas and around 23,000 employees worldwide, engineers and builds some of the world’s largest infrastructure projects.

CB&I is now involved in a long-term scientific experiment, the collapsing “sinkhole” area, according to one Louisiana state representative.

“We’re at the point where this has become a scientific experiment,” state Rep. Joe Harrison complained Tuesday at the State Capitol. “This could go on for years.”

Officials are now not only questioning safety of one “collapsing cavern” in the Napoleonville Salt Dome.

This week, they have also questioned the safety of other salt domes, as residents at Lake Peigneur, that is also mysteriously bubbling, have been questioning for years.

The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources has just ordered the owners of Louisiana’s other 34 salt dome oil and gas industry-related storage facilities to prove they are safe.

(See La. Sinkhole Emergency Safety Concerns for all 34 Other Storage Domes (Videos))

Harrison, R-Napoleonville, said “sinkhole” area homeowners’ property is unmarketable.
Mutate, Migrate or Die

In the October 31, 1988 issue of the New York Times, Keith Schneider’s article stated, “Engineers at the Energy Department have privately begun calling such contaminated sites ‘national sacrifice zones.’

Salon noted about the Energy Dept. engineers, “They grimly joke that some zones could turn out to be larger than many of the 39 national parks.” 

In 2010, Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges and award-winning cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco began looking at sacrifice zones, areas in America “offered up for exploitation in the name of profit, progress, and technological advancement.” They aimed to show what life looks like in places where marketplace rules without constraints, where human beings and the natural world are used and then discarded to maximize profit. (Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt)

They were dedicated to investigating America’s most exploited and impoverished areas, places Hedges says are “virtually off the radar screen in terms of the commercial media.”

“Hedges notes, importantly, I think, that the governmental response we have seen to the Occupy movement, the militarized police brutality, and the passage of federal legislation allowing the military to engage in domestic policing, is not a sign of weakness in our movement, but rather one of strength — a sign of fear by Congress and its corporate bosses,” writes David Swanson, author, anti-war activist and War Is a Crime blogger.  “Now we have to turn that fear into realization that the spreading of sacrifice zones will absorb us all unless radical change comes soon.”

People ask, “When will we learn?” 

“It’s absolutely imperative that we begin to understand what unfettered, unregulated capitalism does,” Hedges emphasized in an appearance on Bill Moyers’ show, Moyers & Company. “These are sacrifice zones, areas that have been destroyed for quarterly profit.

“And we’re talking about environmentally destroyed, communities destroyed, human beings destroyed, families destroyed. And because there are no impediments left, these sacrifice zones are just going to spread outward.”

Moyers asked Hedges what he meant by saying no impediments are left.

Hedges explained, “The political system is bought off, the judicial system is bought off, the law enforcement system services the interests of power, they have been rendered powerless.”

“Even worse, Hedges believes these devastated communities represent the future for all of us,” writes Muriel Kane in July, 2012. 

“‘We have become complicit,’ Hedges noted sadly, ‘because we’ve accepted this as a kind of natural law,’” Kane wrote. “‘And the acceptance of this kind of behavior, and even the celebration of it is going to ultimately trigger our demise.’”

Hedges raises questions apropos the Bayou Corne industry/manmade disaster:

As Americans passively fill their tanks with fossil fuels, rather than demanding renewable energy sources and jobs, are they not complicit to anguish and suffering in Assumption Parish, and even chemically induced slow-death of others in South Louisiana? Are Americans not ultimately complicit in violation to the human right to security?  As Hedges suggests, are these Americans also complicit in a slow-kill mass suicide?

Meanwhile, Barack Obama is considering fracking proponent Dr. Ernest Moniz, to lead the Department of Energy.

“Playing golf while the planet burns,” Medea Benjamin described Obama’s game-playing Sunday while 50,000 Americans begged him to not approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The president has also expressed his intent to expand drilling for gas and oil, inevitably expanding the nation’s sacrifices zones.

Unless Obama is impeached and replaced with a humanitarian environmentalist, more Americans, like victims of the 2010 BP Gulf oil and Corexit catastrophe and the 2012 great sinkhole event, will become Big Energy victims forced to choose: mutate, migrate or die. 


Sources: New York Times, The Advocate, Common Dreams, Raw Story, War Is A Crime, Salon,, Before It’s News

Photo credit: Ventanos. Oceano Chile, Vimeo

Human Rights news reporter Deborah Dupré is author of “Vampire of Macondo, Life, crimes and curses in south Louisiana that Powerful Forces Don’t want you to know,” 450 pages packed with censored stories about the BP-wrecked Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico that continues causing hidden catastrophic human and environmental devastation.Follow Dupré on Twitter @DeborahDupre. For interviews, email [email protected]

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    Total 8 comments
    • Deborah Dupre

      What are you choosing, to mutate, migrate or die for Big Energy? Sunday, 50,000 Americans tried to voice their needs to Obama while he, on the golf course, turned a deaf ear to them. We need leadership that does more than talk the talk, for our survival.

      • Paveway IV

        Why on earth would you think your survival is of any concern to either Big Energy or the White House? You’re living in the past. Here’s what your government thinks of you today:

        U.S. citizens are potential threats and targets to the government. Obama wouldn’t listen to them? Boo hoo. They’re lucky they were not mowed down by DHS.

        I would give you the link to Law Enforcement Target’s website, but it’s been down for days. The DHS’ favorite? NMH-5 “hostile young mother surrounded by childred [sic]” .

    • texashale

      Well, I stopped reading this ill informed article right after your stated the tripe about the Constitution making international law trump ANY law… How about you learn about the Constitution BEFORE you demonstrate your ignorance… You made the rest of the article irrelevant. You would have done much better to state that the 5th amendment to the Constitution provides for everyone not be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

      • Paveway IV

        “…everyone not be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation…”

        Wow. I need to tell the Dakota and Navaho peoples about this! As I’m writing this, people are conspiring to take over pieces of their concentration camps *without just compensation*.

        Aw, shucks… I just realized they’re not protected by the white man’s constitution.

      • Deborah Dupre

        Thank you for at least reading the first part of this and for your comment. Please note that my description of the power of foreign treaties under the US Constitution was based on the discussion in Hartmann, Unequal Protection.
        Findlaw {} provides a detailed discussion of the power of treaties under the US Constitution and Supreme Court rulings. According to my understanding, here is a simplified summary for treaties negotiated by the President and ratified by a supermajority of the Senate. Such a treaty is not valid if it violates the Constitution and its amendments.
        A constitutionally valid treaty is considered the law of the land, on a par with federal law. It does supersede previous federal, state, and local laws that are inconsistent with it. However, it can be superseded by a subsequent act of Congress.
        Strictly speaking, a President cannot revoke a treaty unilaterally (Congress has to pass a law to that effect), although presidents have gotten away with it many times. There are some subtle exceptions to this simplified description described in the Findlaw Web page.

    • tomw54

      Why is this not being talked about in the media? Makes me wonder. I am sure you all gabbed the money when they started this storage years ago. Now you are paying the price. It seems to me that we have placed enough money into your sinking area and it may be time for you to move. Obama is a bum and should be impeached. To call on the EPA is the dumbest thing I have every heard, they are destroying this country with the Idiot from Kenya leading them. So wake up people, pull your heads out of your butts and do some reading if you know how. You voted for this illegal immigrant because he gives you handouts. So as we say, what you sow you will eat.

    • Jacksdad

      Without oil people would be living in caves, wearing animal skin loincloths. Oil is organic and carbon based, just like every other organism on the planet. There is not one shred of credible evidence that states burning it is killing the planet, people have been burning oil for thousands of years and earth is still here.
      The idiocy of it all is when people decide they know better and then choose to burn up their food sources (corn) instead. While it destroys engines, burns dirtier than diesel and solves nothing. In fact their solution creates more problems.

      • Deborah Dupre

        Bologne. Nonsense. Propaganda. Thanks, however, for reading the article.

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