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.