Texas Brine once again defies logic with lawsuit
In a move sure to anger residents of Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou, Texas Brine has filed suit against the state Office of Conservation to permanently block the commission’s latest directives to drill two 6,000 foot wells to further investigate the cause of the massive environmental incident.
The suit was filed on December 28, 2012, in East Baton Rouge Parish.
The petition states that the commissioner’s office ignores “more reasonable, scientifically sound and safer methods for accomplishing the goals,” set out in Commissioner Jim Welsh’s orders.
The suit says the wells are not needed and would increase the risks to the public and the environment.
Under Welsh’s original order, Texas Brine asserted that the complexity of the directives, their unrealistic timelines and their questionable justification has forced the company to seek judicial relief.
The petition states that the orders were issued by the Office of Conservation at 5:45 p.m. on December 7, without notice to Texas Brine despite ongoing discussions about what to do next, violating the constitutional and state statutory protections against deprivation of Texas Brines vested right’s without first having a hearing.
In effect, Texas Brine is disputing whether or not this is an emergency. The commissioner by law can issue orders or directives without the need for a hearing.
The Office of Conservation took issue with Texas Brine’s suit, indicating that the company did receive notice of the orders in full compliance with the law and constitutional mandates.
The agency also defended the need for the wells and asserted that this indeed is an emergency, and that they are doing what is in the best interest of public safety.
Texas Brine’s latest move will not sit well with local residents who just two weeks ago heard Vice President of Operations Bruce Martin say that the company is committed to the people and the area. Those comments came at the last public meeting.
At that meeting, Police Jury President Marty Triche lashed out at Martin for the company’s response, or lack thereof, and pushed Martin for a more proactive role by the company.
“At present, your company does nothing until they are told what to do by the commissioner,” Triche said. “You need to take a message back to Houston.”
Texas Brine needs to financially compensate those people who live in that community that can no longer live in their homes.
Texas Brine’s suit could potentially delay the drilling of those wells for months.