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Radioactive material disposed of in Louisiana sinkhole – cover up?

text ionisingLouisiana sinkhole radiation abuse and cover up continue The Examiner, NOVEMBER 30, 2012 BY: DEBORAH DUPRE  As human rights to health abuses continue in the giant Louisiana sinkhole area, with its dangerous radiation levels released for over four months, state officials say they are investigating how Texas Brine Co. LLC managed the naturally occurring radioactive material there and whether it illegally disposed of the “non-dangerous” radioactive material under Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities that are above the Napoleonville Dome in the mid-1990s. Radiation, a grave human right to health violation at Louisiana sinkhole

After four months of dangerous levels of radiation being released at Louisiana’s giant sinkhole, impacting lives of hundreds and perhaps thousands of people, finger-pointing has begun regarding whose fault it is that the naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) is there.

NORM is a common petrochemical industrial complex waste problem potentially negatively impacting the human right to health.

NORM is a frequent byproduct of oil and gas drilling processes. It creates wastes that industry has often dumped improperly – in water, on land, by burning and in “accidents” – to prevent storing it illegally.

Oil and gas drilling processes can concentrate naturally occurring radioactive isotopes underground at various levels, sometimes posing health threats, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Brine production, such as in Texas Brine’s operations, are included in those that can concentrate NORM. Some oil and gas service companies are contracted to store NORM for oil and gas companies. Texas Brine is an oil and gas service company.

Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) confirmed last week that a 1979 state statute prohibited disposing NORM in large underground salt deposits like Napoleonville Dome until 1999 legislative changes made such disposal legal.

“What we’re going to do is investigate this thing the best we can with the information from 1995 and move forward as appropriate,” said DEQ spokesman Rodney Mallett.

In August 1995, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Office of Conservation did not object when Texas Brine considered putting up to 20 cubic feet of NORM in an underground company cavern in the Napoleonville Dome and in another salt dome in Lafourche Parish, according to DEQ and state Office of Conservation records.

It is unclear if Texas Brine followed through on those plans, according to the Advocate.

Texas Brine officials said in a statement last week that they did not put NORM into its caverns but that it remains onsite under a standing license that DEQ gave to it……..
As early as August, a non-government group, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, began urging Bayou Corne sinkhole area residents to use a new record log. At that time, a veteran radiation expert said Louisiana environmental officials were “in denial” over hazards posed by elevated radium levels that were actually fifteen times higher than the state limit, a “worst nightmare coming true” in the sinkhole vicinity, according to environmental attorney Stuart Smith.

Stanley Waligora, a New Mexico-based radiation protection consultant and leading authority on health risks of NORM confirmed that radium levels at Bayou Corne’s sinkhole are not within safe limits, but instead, roughly 15 times higher than the state’s acceptable level, Smith had said. The information about radium had been buried in a state news release, had been poorly written, and had gone “out of its way to downplay the results,” Smith had said.
In 1979, the state Legislature prohibited disposing “radioactive waste or other radioactive material of any nature” in salt domes. That la took effect Jan. 1, 1980 during controversy over U.S. Department of Energy plans to store high-level radioactive waste, such as from nuclear power plants, in salt domes.

The salt dome ban for radioactive waste remains. In 1999, however, the Louisiana Legislature exempted oil and gas exploration and production wastes, including NORM, from the statutory definition of “radioactive waste,” DEQ officials said.

Before that, NORM was under the definition of “radioactive waste” and, therefore, prohibited from salt dome disposal in 1995, DEQ officials said in an email to the Advocate…….

Sonny Cranch, spokesman for Texas Brine, said last week that officials “misspoke” then in their attempt to respond to questions about NORM and that it was never put in the cavern.

“This is a very confusing saga — when you get to the end of the (Advocate) piece, it’s unclear just what exactly Texas Brine did or didn’t bury at the sinkhole,” Smith stated in his blog post Tuesday. “But that is the broader point — neither the company nor state regulators have been clear about has or hasn’t been taking place at this site for years.”Smith added, “And they haven’t been either honest or forthcoming with the people of Louisiana now, in this hour of crisis for displaced families and for the worried residents still in the area.”

What is also confusing to some is just how dangerous NORM is, a confusion caused by what Smith refers to as corporate and government dose dancing.

Dose dancing, a radiation psychological operation citizens need to know: Even small radiation doses that are harmful

Low-level, even natural radiation is potentially damaging, according to scientific studies, including a newly released study report.

Smith refers to corporate and government hiding the truth about radiation as “dose dancing.”

“‘Dose dancing’ is a load of baloney,” Smith stated Tuesday. “My experience as a lawyer has shown me that even exposure to levels of radiation that are considered low can in fact be harmful. And increasingly there is scientific research backing this up.

December 3, 2012 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA

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