New Louisiana Anti-Pipeline Camp Increases Security by Requiring Water Protector Application

By Yessenia Funes Jun 28, 2017

The L’eau Est La Vie (Water Is Life) Camp that opened this past weekend in southern Louisiana is accepting applications for water protectors.

This camp is contesting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which is being partially developed by the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline: Energy Transfer Partners. Organizers describe it as a prayer and resistance camp that will evolve, if necessary, into one that uses nonviolent direct action to stop the 163-mile long pipeline if it’s approved.

The camp published a Facebook post last night (June 27) calling for water protectors interested in joining to apply. The application explains that the camp lies in swamplands, so water protectors should be prepared. The camp organizers will conduct phone interviews with applicants who are a “good fit” and follow up successful interviewees with required web or in-person trainings. They are three: anti-oppression, nonviolent direct action and swamp survival skills trainings. This is a different method than previous camps held by water protectors—most famously, the ones near Standing Rock, North Dakota, against the Dakota Access.

Generally, camps have welcomed any and everyone who can support themselves at the camp while also contributing. However, that proved unsuccessful at keeping infiltrators at bay, as reports from The Intercept have made clear.

“We saw what happened at Standing Rock and the use of mercenary surveillance by law enforcement,” says Cherri Foytlin, state director of Bold Louisiana and an indigenous woman who helped organize the camp. “We have to be incredibly careful to protect the water protectors who are at this camp.”

The vetting process is a necessary step in keeping the camp and its members secure, says Foytlin. The camp will process applications on a need-to basis, Foytlin emphasizes. However, it will first pull from local and indigenous sources.