Louisiana Environmentalists Rally Against Pipeline Developed by Same Company Behind DAPL

By Yessenia Funes Jan 13, 2017

Louisiana environmentalists took to the streets yesterday (January 12) to rally outside a public hearing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on a proposed pipeline project.

The 162-mile long Bayou Bridge Pipeline would cut through 11 Louisiana parishes and connect to an already existing pipeline to help bring the crude oil from the North Dakota Bakken formation—the same oil set to run through the Dakota Access Pipeline—to Louisiana’s refineries and ports, reports local media WWL-TV. Pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners is behind both these projects.

Representatives came to Baton Rouge yesterday to talk to the public about their latest project. They mentioned safety procedures, economic benefits and job creation. The project would create 2,500 construction jobs, reports KLFY News, but only 12 would be permanent.

Opponents worry about the pipeline’s potential threat to their water, land and safety—many of the same concerns seen in the #NoDAPL movement. Locals pointed to a recent report from the environmental grassroots organization Louisiana Bucket Brigade which showed that the state saw 144 pipeline accidents, including spills and leaks, last year. Ultimately, what they want is for the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement on the project, a step it skipped with the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as with the Comanche Trail Pipeline in Texas, another energy project that’s seen controversy.

Earlier yesterday, a water protector locked herself to construction equipment in San Elizario, Texas to try to halt work on the 195-mile long Texas pipeline. Construction was not affected, said Lisa Dillinger, Energy Transfer spokesperson, in an email.

Energy Transfer Partners has seen a flurry of trouble recently. It was hit with a lawsuit January 6 from landowners in Morton County, North Dakota where the Dakota Access lies. Seventeen households are unhappy with how Energy Transfer’s subsidiary Dakota Access LLC handled their easement agreements, alleging that the company lied and threatened them.

The lawsuit says that the landowners accepted the prices for their land because the company told them they’d face eminent domain court hearings if they did not. Landowners also allege that the company told them they might receive less or no money through that process. The 17 parties allege that they eventually discovered their neighbors had received up to 10 times more money for their land.

“Dakota Access’s statements were false, misleading and unfair statements designed to induce the Morton County Landowners to sign the easement agreements at a lower price than other Morton County Landowners,” the suit reads.

The landowners are asking for $4 million in awarded damages.