Conflict in Cajun Country: Will the Bayou Bridge Pipeline Become Louisiana's Standing Rock?

At the far end of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners is proposing to build the Bayou Bridge pipeline to carry fracked oil from North Dakota to the Gulf Coast. Cutting through the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun Country, the pipeline would traverse the Atchafalaya Basin, a national heritage area which is already criss-crossed by hundreds of pipelines and littered with thousands of abandoned wells. 

The pipeline’s supporters tout the economic benefits and relative safety of moving oil by pipeline. Meanwhile, its opponents cite concerns about the threat of an oil spill and further damage to the Atchafalaya Basin, and warn that the Bayou Bridge battle could escalate to the levels against the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock.

In this series

Ethel M. Harris, a long-time resident of St. James, Louisiana
Sharon Lavigne and Geraldine Mayho took me to meet some of the most vulnerable members of their...
By Julie Dermansky, 12 Jul, 2018
Julie Dermansky standing on a cypress tree stump in the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana
A day before a federal court reaffirmed Bayou Bridge LLC could keep building an oil pipeline...
By Julie Dermansky, 9 Jul, 2018
Melinda Tillies on her porch, in view of Bayou Bridge pipeline construction
Melinda Tillies learned about the controversial Bayou Bridge pipeline the day its construction...
By Julie Dermansky, 6 Jun, 2018
Protesters with banners stop construction at a Bayou Bridge pipeline site in Maurice, Louisiana
Today, residents of St. James, Louisiana, and groups opposing the Bayou Bridge pipeline petitioned...
By Julie Dermansky, 24 May, 2018
Bayou Bridge pipeline workers in St. James, Louisiana
Construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline has continued in and around the Louisiana town of St....
By Julie Dermansky, 19 May, 2018
Tank farms and a railroad terminal surrounding neighborhood in St. James, Louisiana where the Bayou Bridge pipeline is proposed to end.
A Louisiana judge ruled that state regulators violated guidelines when they issued a coastal use...
By Julie Dermansky, 8 May, 2018
Hope Rosinski photographs Bayou Bridge pipeline construction on her land
Hope Rosinski kept watch over the construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline as one of its segments...
By Julie Dermansky, 16 Apr, 2018
Protester chained to a barrel in the road
On Thursday, April 5, opponents of the Bayou Bridge pipeline attempted to shut down its...
By Julie Dermansky, 6 Apr, 2018
Bayou Bridge pipeline protester Ann White Hat being arrested in Louisiana
The private security firm TigerSwan, known for its controversial military-style tactics against...
By Ashley Braun, 30 Mar, 2018
Empty Bayou Bridge pipeline construction site through Atchafalaya Basin
Today the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal judge’s temporary injunction halting...
By Julie Dermansky, 15 Mar, 2018
Louisiana Bucket Brigade founder Anne Rolfes at a press conference protesting Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards' treatment of anti-pipeline activists.
Opponents of the Bayou Bridge pipeline accused Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards of meeting with...
By Julie Dermansky, 7 Mar, 2018
Protesters hold up signs against the Bayou Bridge pipeline, at the construction site outside the basin
A federal judge’s recent order stopping construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline — though only in...
By Julie Dermansky, 1 Mar, 2018
Jody Meche, crawfisher, viewing the Bayou Bridge pipeline construction damage to the Atchafalaya Basin
There was an eerie stillness along the route of the Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana’s...
By Julie Dermansky, 25 Feb, 2018
Sign at construction site for Bayou Bridge pipeline
Less than a week after construction began on the controversial Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana,...
By Julie Dermansky, 30 Jan, 2018
Dean Wilson of Atchafalaya Basinkeeper next to a Louisiana cypress
Though Energy Transfer Partners has all the permits and permissions it needs to start work on the...
By Julie Dermansky, 21 Jan, 2018
Cherri Foytlin at the entrance to land in the path of the Bayou Bridge pipeline
On December 16 anti-pipeline activists calling themselves water protectors gathered in Rayne,...
By Julie Dermansky, 17 Dec, 2017
A broad base of advocacy groups opposed to Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) proposed Bayou Bridge...
By Julie Dermansky, 13 Nov, 2017
Pastor Harry Joseph in front of oil storage tanks in St. James, Louisiana
Pastor Harry Joseph of the Mount Triumph Baptist Church in St. James, Louisiana, is taking legal...
By Julie Dermansky, 26 Jun, 2017
Militarized law enforcement lined up and in armored cars at Standing Rock
By Steve Horn and Curtis Waltman On June 19, Louisiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards...
By Steve Horn, 21 Jun, 2017
Protesters marching in the rain and holding anti-pipeline signs
On March 30, heavy rain didn’t stop dozens of people in New Orleans from marching to the offices of...
By Julie Dermansky, 3 Apr, 2017
This is a guest op-ed by Steve Wilkerson, a U.S. Army Veteran from Louisiana. On February 8th,...
By Guest, 15 Feb, 2017
Opponents of the Bayou Bridge pipeline hold signs and march to a permit hearing
On February 13 environmental advocates urged Louisiana agencies to deny permits for the Bayou...
By Julie Dermansky, 14 Feb, 2017
A woman holds a sign protesting the Bayou Bridge pipeline before a permit hearing in Louisiana
At a permit hearing for the Bayou Bridge pipeline held January 12 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,...
By Julie Dermansky, 17 Jan, 2017
On November 15, over 150 people protested against the Dakota Access Pipeline in New Orleans outside...
By Julie Dermansky, 16 Nov, 2016