As a Lake Peigneur resident, I continue to witness natural gas accidents, leaks and explosions not far from my home. Last year a barge hit a pipeline in Cote Blanche Bay and caused an explosion that killed six people. Now, Interstate 10 is closed for four days or more due to leaking gas that ignited at a drilling platform.

These accidents serve as a sober reminder that I ' along with my 12 neighboring family members, as well as the 5,000 surrounding residents of Lake Peigneur in Erath, Delcambre and New Iberia ' am living on a sleeping giant. Under Lake Peigneur's waters, two large cavities in the salt dome can store 9.4 billion (yes, billion) cubic feet of natural gas. The gas is pressurized at up to 2,700 pounds of pressure per square inch. To put that in perspective, a typical car tire can hold 32 pounds of pressure per square inch.

The gas stored under Lake Peigneur is not there to serve you or me, nor is it a national strategic reserve. It is a commercial facility that yields lucrative profits for Georgia-based utility company AGL Resources Inc. If the billions of cubic feet of gas isn't enough to leave us laying wide-eyed at night, AGL is actively trying to influence our state government to approve the creation of more salt caverns to double the amount of gas they can store.

And by the way, AGL intends on wasting 7 billion (there's the billion again) gallons of our drinking water for their project. As the country watches the legal battle over drinking water in Georgia, AGL has no problem wasting Louisiana's water for its profits.

Gas explosions can occur anywhere, at any time, due to a number of causes. My biggest fear is my fate and the fate of my family and neighbors should something go wrong at Lake Peigneur. I also fear that people will only become aware of the ever-present danger after a catastrophe occurs and say, "Why wasn't anything done to prevent this?" You can join our cause by signing up at www.savelakepeigneur.org.

If you want to see an 800-pound gorilla you don't have to go the zoo. We've got two of them in Lake Peigneur.

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