Sinkholes - Netflix

Documentary series. An investigation into sinkholes caused by collapsed mine shafts, and a homeowner reports how he is stuck in an unsellable house that is surrounded by sinkholes.

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Running

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2017-11-20

Sinkholes - Bayou Corne sinkhole - Netflix

The Bayou Corne Sinkhole was created from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern operated by Texas Brine Company and owned by Occidental Petroleum. The sinkhole, located in northern Assumption Parish, Louisiana, was discovered on August 3, 2012, and 350 nearby residents were advised to evacuate. Scientists have stated that the evacuation order could last for years.

Sinkholes - Impact - Netflix

The residents of Bayou Corne, who as of March 2014 have been evacuated for 19 months, have involved themselves in a protracted legal battle with Texas Brine. From the start of the evacuation, each resident received checks from Texas Brine for $875 per week. Some residents receive these checks without having even left the town, in defiance of the evacuation order. One such resident, Mike Schaff, said of Texas Brine’s financial settlement option “They think we’re just a bunch of ignorant coonasses." Nine months after the evacuation, Governor Jindal threatened to sue Texas Brine unless they offered a buyout option to residents. Accordingly, Texas Brine offered to deal with the 350 affected residents. As of March 2014, 65 people had accepted some form of buyout. Others have opted to join a class-action lawsuit against Texas Brine which was set to go to trial in 2014. The ecological effects of these developments on local flora and fauna are yet unstudied, but the sinkhole continues to destroy nearby cypress trees, swallowing them during expansion. The Atlantic’s Tim Murphy has summarized the incident thusly: “Bayou Corne is the biggest ongoing industrial disaster in the United States you haven't heard of.” One class-action lawsuit led to a proposed $48.1 million settlement in 2014, although some residents felt that the legal fees to be awarded ($12.03 million) were too high a percentage of the total. In September 2014, Texas Brine requested a permit to discharge wastewater back into the Bayou Corne sinkhole in an effort to fix some of the damage it has caused, which sent former and current residents of the town into a frenzy as a heated debate ensued over whether the company believed to be responsible for severe damage and loss of homes should be given permission to tamper more with an area already considered to be “deeply contaminated,” as environmental activist Nara Crowley stated. In July 2015, Texas Brine began a series of lawsuits against Occidental Petroleum, claiming that an oil well drilled by Occidental Petroleum in 1986 triggered the cavern wall break that led to the creation of the sinkhole. Texas Brine is currently seeking $100 million in damages from Occidental Petroleum over the issue. In 2018, it was reported that a state district judge ruled that fault was shared among three companies: Texas Brine was 35% at fault, Occidental Chemical was 50% at fault, and Vulcan was 15% at fault. Appeals to the ruling are expected.

Sinkholes - References - Netflix