Energy Transfer Partners

Louisiana Landowners Appeal Bayou Bridge Pipeline's Right to Seize Their Land After Trespassing

Read time: 3 mins
Atchafalaya Basin clearing for Bayou Bridge pipeline construction in 2018

A Louisiana appeals court heard oral arguments Wednesday, January 8 in a case brought by Louisiana landowners against the Bayou Bridge Pipeline Company that illegally trespassed and began pipeline construction without landowners’ consent.

Attorneys for the landowners are asking the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court decision granting the pipeline company’s eminent domain right to seize the land. That granting of expropriation was made despite a finding that the company had unlawfully entered and damaged the land.

Bayou Bridge Charged $450 for Trespassing and Building Oil Pipeline Without Permission on Louisiana Parcel

Read time: 7 mins
Dean Wilson of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper on the plaintiffs’ land in the basin

After three landowners filed a legal challenge against Bayou Bridge Pipeline, LLC’s right to build a pipeline on their land — which it did without their permission — the case concluded this week with a very small fine for the company.

On December 6, Louisiana State Judge Keith Comeaux fined the pipeline company $450 for trespassing during construction before properly obtaining permission. The judge also granted the company the permission it sought to expropriate the land it had already built on.

Energy Transfer, Banks Lost Billions by Ignoring Early Dakota Access Pipeline Concerns

Read time: 8 mins
Anti Dakota Access protesters in Philadelphia

Roughly four years ago, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) filed a federal application to build a 1,172 mile oil pipeline from North Dakota’s Bakken shale across the U.S. to Illinois at a projected cost of $3.8 billion.

Before that application was filed, on September 30, 2014, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe met with ETP to express concerns about the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) and fears of water contamination. Though the company, now known as Energy Transfer, had re-routed a river crossing to protect the state capital of Bismarck against oil spills, it apparently turned a deaf ear to the Tribe’s objections.

Following that approach proved to be a very costly decision, a new analysis concludes, with ETP, banks, and investors taking billions in losses as a result.

TigerSwan, County Sheriff Sued Over Road Blockade During Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

Read time: 6 mins
National Guard checkpoint

On October 18, two Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members and a pastor for an Episcopal Church on the reservation filed a class action civil lawsuit against state, county, and private law enforcement in the latest chapter of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) saga. 

The plaintiffs allege that these groups were involved in a prolonged effort to blockade North Dakota State Highway 1806 to opponents of the controversial oil pipeline during the most heated protests from late October 2016 through early 2017.

Energy Transfer: New Name for Pipeline Company But Same Spills and Violence Against Protesters, Says Greenpeace Report

Read time: 6 mins
Protester in front of gates to Energy Transfer CEO Kelcy Warren's Dallas home

Battles over new shale gas and oil pipelines involving Energy Transfer, formerly known as Energy Transfer Partners, have heated up in recent weeks — an escalation that carries a tilt, as one side stands accused of acts of violence.

Energy Transfer (ET) security contractors have been accused of physically assaulting pipeline opponents on multiple occasions, including incidents in which security allegedly pointed a gun at one pipeline opponent, struck another with the butt of a shotgun, and overturned two boats carrying a television film crew and pipeline opponents into a Louisiana swamp, according to a new report published by Greenpeace USA on October 18.

Despite Lingering Land Dispute, Louisiana’s Bayou Bridge Pipeline Is Nearly Complete

Read time: 7 mins
Excavator moves earth to make way for the Bayou Bridge pipeline in the Atchafalaya Basin

High water in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin and direct actions against the Bayou Bridge pipeline threaten to further delay work on the pipeline. However, it likely will be finished before the company’s pending legal challenges, including its most recent one over illegal construction, are settled. 

Pipeline that Exploded in Pennsylvania Part of Push to Build Fracking-Reliant Petrochemical Network

Read time: 5 mins
Pipeline explosion

Just before dawn Monday morning, Chuck Belczyk thought a jet had crashed near his home roughly 25 miles outside Pittsburgh — until he heard the sound of hissing gas.

And that’s when it all hit us what was happening,” Belczyk told NPR’s State Impact. “You knew the pipeline went.”

First Felony Arrests Near Bayou Bridge Construction Made Under New Louisiana Law Penalizing Pipeline Trespass

Read time: 4 mins
L’eau Est La Vie protest camp sign

Karen Savage, an award-winning investigative reporter, did not expect to be arrested as she covered Energy Transfer Partners’ controversial construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline through Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin, a river swamp bigger than the Florida Everglades.

We were on land that the pipeline company doesn’t even claim to have,” she said, adding that she had permission in writing from the property owner to be there. “I didn’t think there was really any risk at all.”

UPDATED: Retired Schoolteacher Sentenced to 2-6 Months After Sunoco Claims She Violated Court Order in Mariner East Pipeline Dispute

Read time: 8 mins
Ellen Gerhart

On Tuesday, July 26, Sunoco Pipeline L.P. filed paperwork with a Pennsylvania court claiming that retired special education teacher Ellen Gerhart, 63, had violated an injunction. Three days later, Gerhart was arrested and jailed.

After being held on $25,000 bail for a week, Ellen Gerhart was on Friday, August 3 sentenced to two to six months by Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Judge George Zanic.*

Sunoco Pipeline obtained a right of way through the Gerharts’ land using the controversial legal doctrine of eminent domain, which allows private companies to seize land people refuse to sell that’s in the planned path of a pipeline project.

In the complaint that led to her jailing, Sunoco claimed Gerhart interfered with construction by, among other things, luring mountain lions and bears onto her property.

Still No Evacuation Plan for Vulnerable Residents at End of Louisiana’s Bayou Bridge Pipeline

Read time: 6 mins
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 community, handicapped residents of St. James, Louisiana, who live near a terminal where the Bayou Bridge pipeline will end. “These people have no way of getting out if there is a spill or explosion,” Lavigne told me. She explained with only one road in and out of the area, if the pipeline fails or an industrial accident occurs, “we are all trapped back here.” 

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