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La. Sinkhole Nat'l Sacrifice Zone: Energy Refugees Settle, $48M

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Governor Bobby Jindal has another notch on his belt today as his state reached a milestone regarding his sinkhole refugees and nearly completing his making a national sacrifice zone out of what was once a paradise home and lifestyle for over 300 residents.  
“These are sacrifice zones, areas that have been destroyed for quarterly profit.” – Chris Hedges
Texas Brine Co. and class-action plaintiffs who sued it over the historic August 2012 sinkhole in Assumption Parish reached a $48.1 million settlement to end their damages claims and buy out their properties, almost completing the creation of a national sacrifice zone for the fossil fuel industry.

Filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, the proposed settlement now awaits a final order from Judge Jay C. Zainey. It comes just before the class-action litigation was set for a trial starting Monday.


‘Major milestone,’ fossil fuel service company says


“We firmly believe the $48 million is a really good settlement number,” said Larry Centola, one of the attorneys representing owners and residents who lived on approximately 90 properties in the Bayou Corne area.


Centola said those properties are all in the area under an evacuation order since the sinkhole emerged Aug. 3, 2012.


He did not know the number of people — owners and renters — tied to those properties who have become energy refugees for fossil fuel energy. Such industrial collateral damage is apparently not important enough for knowing such stats.


Some twelve other lawsuits are still pending related to sinkhole. Pipeline companies and Assumption Parish government have also filed lawsuits in state district court.


Negotiations with plaintiffs’ attorneys resulted in the “definitive agreement,” conditioned on the purchase of the residents’ property by Texas Brine, the fossil fuel service company said in a statement


“This settlement with the Class represents another major milestone in resolving issues associated with the sinkhole,” a Texas Brine statement says.


“While great progress has been made on resolving residential claims, Texas Brine remains committed to continuing its sinkhole response activities through the implementation of a comprehensive, long-term monitoring program.”


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 contaminated sites such as Jindal’s 30-acre sinkhole ‘national sacrifice zones.’


Salon noted about those 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 researching sacrifice zones 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)


Hedges and Sacco were dedicated to investigating America’s most exploited and impoverished areas, places “virtually off the radar screen in terms of the commercial media,” as the sinkhole was for almost a year, until the local Homeland Security coordinator made his famous video.

“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.”


Editorial Comment: Unless one third party candidate, and only one, is selected to campaign against fossil fuel industry bought-and-paid-for Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, (and similarly for other political offices) more Americans, like victims will become Big Energy victims.


They, too, will learn the hard way when forced to choose: mutate, migrate or die. 

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    Total 5 comments
    • Deborah Dupre

      Whose town will the fossil fuel industry sacrifice next for it profit and our lowered life expectancy? One near yours? Yours?

      • Neanderthal

        go ahead use my town
        its a sewer anyway.

    • Neanderthal


    • paul brown

      My town used to be a nice one, but it’s getting fracked.

    • paul brown

      My town used to be a nice one, but it’s been fracked.

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