BAYOU CORNE, La. (KPEL) -- Gov. Bobby Jindal visited the nearly nine-acre sinkhole in Assumption Parish Tuesday to view the damage firsthand, and he announced that the company that owns the salt dome beneath the sinkhole will begin the process of buying out the properties of those residents who were forced to evacuate months ago.

“We are making progress on the sinkhole clean-up and contingency plan, and moving forward quickly to take all steps necessary to protect the lives and property in this community," Jindal said.

Shortly after meeting with Jindal last week, Texas Brine, the company that owns the salt dome beneath the sinkhole which some are blaming for the natural disaster, announced it will begin buying out the property of those residents directly affected by the sinkhole. The company had been waiting for a court-approved list of all those residents living in the area, and they received that list Friday.

Under the buyout plan, Texas Brine will approach those residents who haven't taken part in a class-action lawsuit against the company in order to talk about settlements. Texas Brine will have to discuss settlement terms with the attorneys of those who have taken part in the class-action suit.

Jindal also announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission whose mission will be to "ensure the long-term safety of Bayou Corne residents." The commission with address the levels of shallow gas in the aquifer, current and future stability on the western side of the salt dome, and the management and containment of the sinkhole.

The commission will be made up of scientific experts from federal and state agencies, as well as from universities and private businesses.

The sinkhole is currently 700 feet in diameter and 210 feet deep.