Louisiana

Legal Challenge Filed to Stop Construction of Louisiana's Bayou Bridge Pipeline

Sign at construction site for Bayou Bridge pipeline

Less than a week after construction began on the controversial Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana, a coalition of crawfishers and environmental groups took legal steps to immediately shut down the project. As a result, on February 8 a federal judge will review a request filed this morning from Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm, which seeks to halt construction of the pipeline through the Atchafalaya Basin while the court considers the firm’s earlier case challenging the pipeline’s permitting. 

A federal judge has denied the request for a temporary restraining order that would have paused construction ahead of the February 8 hearing.*

Meet the Money and People Fueling the Contested Bayou Bridge Pipeline

Mary Landrieu speaks at the 2008 Democratic National Convention

By Rob Galbraith, Cross-Posted from LittleSis.org

Clarification, 1/22/2018: This article and the underlying report identified a conflict of interest between former Senator Mary Landrieu and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), a state agency that needed to sign off on Bayou Bridge pipeline before construction could begin. Landrieu, who is registered to lobby for CPRA, is also advocating for the Bayou Bridge pipeline. The necessity of CPRA’s approval for the pipeline was identified by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the majority owner, in a statement on December 14, 2017 as well as in reporting based on that statement.

Public Accountability Initiative has learned that CPRA issued a letter of no objection to the pipeline project on December 19, 2017. ETP’s statement about needing the approval, which was still on the Bayou Bridge website when the report was published, has since been removed.

This article has been updated to clarify that the necessary approval from CPRA has been issued.

From Dakota Access to Keystone XL to Atlantic Coast, there has been no shortage of controversies over major proposed oil and gas pipelines in recent years. We can add the Bayou Bridge pipeline to this list.

Energy Transfer Partners and Phillips 66’s Bayou Bridge pipeline is a proposed connection to ETP’s Bakken pipeline network that will ship between 280,000 and 480,000 barrels of crude oil per day through southern Louisiana’s bayous and wetlands to petroleum refineries in St. James.

The pipeline is facing committed resistance, both from environmental activists concerned about climate change and the impact of inevitable pipeline leaks and accidents on the environmentally sensitive Atchafalaya Basin, as well as from the communities of people whose homes and ways of life are threatened by the project.

On the other side are the oil and gas corporations that stand to profit from building the pipeline, the banks seeking interest payments on loans to oil and gas companies, and the politicians and academics dependent on oil and gas industry largesse for their careers.

Concerned Citizens in Cancer Alley Vow to Ramp up Battle Against Industrial Pollution in 2018

Robert Taylor next to an EPA air monitor

This past year in Louisiana’s St. John the Baptist Parish, a small group of residents began organizing their community to compel the state to protect them against an invisible menace: the air they breathe. Their parish, the Louisiana equivalent of a county, is situated in what’s known as Cancer Alley, an industrial corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans that hosts more than 100 petrochemical factories.

At the helm of the battle is the Concerned Citizens of St. John, a diverse group of parish residents pushing back against the area’s historically bad — and worsening — industrial pollution. “One thing we all have in common is a desire for clean air,” the group’s founder, Robert Taylor, told me. Next year, the burgeoning group plans to get political and broaden its reach by banding together with similar groups in the region.

With Tribal Blessing, Louisiana Activist Buys Land in Path of Proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline

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, Louisiana, on land located along the proposed route of the Bayou Bridge pipeline. The gathering occurred two days after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality granted Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) the last permit needed to build the pipeline.

The proposed pipeline would transport crude oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) from St. Charles to St. James, Louisiana, and cross the Atchafalaya Basin, a national heritage area that is America’s largest natural swamp.

About 35 people took part in a ceremony on land that Cherri Foytlin, director of Bold Louisiana, recently bought for Louisiana Rise, an advocacy group she founded that focuses on renewable energy and a just transition. During the ceremony Foytlin requested and was granted a blessing and permission from the Atakapa-Ishak Nation to use the land that once belonged to the tribe. At the gathering the water protectors strengthened their resolve to stop the pipeline, which would be the final leg of ETP’s Dakota Access pipeline  carrying oil fracked in North Dakota to Louisiana.

Bayou Bridge Pipeline Opponents File to Intervene in Hearing for Private Security Firm in Louisiana

A broad base of advocacy groups opposed to Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) proposed Bayou Bridge pipeline continue to pressure officials in Louisiana to deny the remaining permissions the company needs to build the pipeline.

The groups are also trying to stop TigerSwan LLC, one of the security firms that ETP worked with in North Dakota, from obtaining a permit to operate in Louisiana.

ETP, the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, intends to build a 162-mile pipeline across southern Louisiana. If built, the Bayou Bridge will be the last leg, carrying oil fracked in North Dakota to Louisiana. 

Exxon Refinery Catches Fire Day After Government Settles Over Pollution From Other Gulf Plants

ExxonMobil’s refinery and chemical plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Early morning skies Wednesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were alight from a fire that started around 2:30 a.m. at an ExxonMobil refinery. The blaze, though contained before the sun came up, is a reminder to the surrounding community of yet another danger of living next to refineries and chemical plants.

Exxon’s refinery is located along the stretch of Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans known as “Cancer Alley” due to the high number of chemical plants and refineries — and illnesses possibly connected to emissions — along the river’s banks.

Company Behind Gas Rig Explosion in Louisiana Was Sued for Degrading Coast

Natural gas rig in the Gulf

Clovelly Oil is not quite a household name, as far as oil and natural gas companies go, though it recently gained attention when its oil and natural gas storage rig exploded on October 15 in Louisiana.

Located on Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans, Clovelly's storage facility erupted at about 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, injuring seven. Timothy Morrison, 44, of Katy, Texas, remains missing. The search for him has been suspended by the U.S. Coast Guard. 

What do we know about this company and its history in the state? Clovelly previously made headlines in 2013 when the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority sued it along with over 100 other companies for their role in eroding and degrading the Louisiana coast. 

Louisiana Attorney General Says Oil, Gas Industry Deserve ‘a Break’ for First-Time Crimes

Jeff Landry

Louisiana's first-term attorney general Jeff Landry often presents himself as a staunch tough-on-crime and anti-corruption candidate, pushing his office's powers to the limits (and beyond) as he seeks to lock up offenders.

But when it comes to prosecuting companies for environmental crimes, Landry arrived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the Shale Insight conference with a very different message: sometimes, mistakes happen.

Climate Change Compounds Louisiana Flooding Threat a Year After Historic Floods

Flooded homes in Louisiana in 2016

It was eerie to watch images of New Orleans’ flooding almost a year after the Baton Rouge flood,” Tam Williams, a videographer who lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told me. Every time it rains, she is a bit on edge, wondering if her city is going to flood again. 

A week before the anniversary of last summer’s 1,000-year flood in Baton Rouge, rain inundated New Orleans, with more than 9 inches falling in only three hours. 

Louisiana’s Cancer Alley Residents Sue Chemical Plant for Nearly 50 Years of Air Pollution

Three African American men in red t-shirts from the Concerned Citizens of St. John Louisiana stand by a sign warning of cancer risk from chloroprene emissions

If you drive along one of the main streets in Louisiana’s St. John the Baptist Parish, you may encounter a large sign warning about chloroprene in the air. These signs let people know that chemical emissions from the nearby DuPont facility, now owned by Denka, can greatly increase the risk of cancer for those who live around it. 

We are being killed by chemicals that the state is allowing Denka and DuPont to pollute our air with,” Robert Taylor, founder of Concerned Citizens of St. John, told me while the group posted the signs. “Putting up signs is one of the steps we are taking, so that later no one can say they didn’t know we are being poisoned.”

Taylor, a 76-year-old retired general contractor, is one of 13 plaintiffs suing Denka Performance Elastomer and E.I. du Pont de Nemours (DuPont), the companies responsible for the chloroprene emissions fouling the air in LaPlace and nearby towns for 48 years. The plant is located along the Mississippi River on a stretch of land between New Orleans and Baton Rouge known as Cancer Alley. 

Pages

Subscribe to Louisiana