La. sinkhole, bubbling gas linked to Texas company

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The collapse of an abandoned underground cavern in a salt dome where a Texas company was extracting brine is being blamed for a sinkhole spawned this summer and contamination of an aquifer in a sparsely populated area of swampland west of New Orleans.

The Louisiana Office of Conservation said new data shows that a series of problems - natural gas bubbling up in local bayous and a growing sinkhole that's swallowed about 4 acres of swamp forest - are linked to the collapse of an underground cavern that Houston-based Texas Brine Co. LLC operated.

Late Thursday, Conservation Commissioner James H. Welsh ordered Texas Brine to make sure the collapsed cavern does not worsen and to do more testing, monitoring and analysis to understand what is happening underground.

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