Jindal signs salt dome bills tied to sinkhole

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed into law three bills tightening regulations on salt domes, a response to the 15-acre Assumption Parish sinkhole that caused evacuation orders for 150 homes.

Stricter guidelines will be required for monitoring and assessing areas around salt domes, and stiffer penalties will be available for violations.

Jindal announced the bill signings Friday, saying the laws will protect public safety.

A salt dome is a naturally occurring underground salt deposit. Companies drill on the dome’s outskirts to create caverns to extract brine used in petrochemical refining.

Officials say an underground storage cavern was being mined too close to the edge of a salt dome and caused the sinkhole that opened up in August.

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