Atchafalaya Basinkeeper

Appeals Court Reverses Decision Stopping Bayou Bridge Pipeline Work Through Cypress Swamp

Empty Bayou Bridge pipeline construction site through Atchafalaya Basin

Today the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal judge’s temporary injunction halting work on the Bayou Bridge pipeline within Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin. In a 2-1 vote the higher court’s decision will allow construction to proceed while the company, Bayou Bridge Pipeline LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, appeals the injunction.

Court Order Pausing Bayou Bridge Pipeline Only Applies to Path Through Cypress Swamp

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 Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin — has successfully prevented further sections of the National Heritage Area from being destroyed, for now.

On February 27, the same day U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick explained her previous week’s ruling to halt work on the pipeline, Dean Wilson, executive director of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, surveyed the oil pipeline's route in the basin. He was relieved to find cypress trees recently identified as “legacy trees” —  those which were alive before 1803 — still standing.

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.*

Bayou Bridge Pipeline Faces Mounting Legal Challenges in Louisiana

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 Bayou Bridge pipeline, the project still faces multiple legal challenges. 

The 162-mile pipeline, being built by the same company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, will span southern Louisiana from Lake Charles, near the Texas border, to St. James, about 60 miles west of New Orleans. This route will cut through the Atchafalaya Basin, a national heritage area that contains America’s largest swamp. 

Subscribe to Atchafalaya Basinkeeper