Bayou Bridge

Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Bayou Bridge Pipeline Construction Amid High Waters, Permit Violations

Read time: 6 mins
Excavators doing construction work for the Bayou Bridge pipeline amid high waters in the Atchafalaya Basin

Since October 2018, the Mississippi River has been running high, thanks in part to heavier-than-usual rainfall across its northern and central stretches.

And when the water flows high on the most powerful river in the U.S., local residents and industries take notice. Fishermen fret the high January waters could mean a poor brown shrimp season ahead. Shippers using barges to haul grain bemoan headaches caused by fast-flowing waters and the river-traffic restrictions that follow. And federal agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers start inspecting levees daily and barring digging within 1,500 feet of the embankments built to protect river-side residents against flooding.

But in the swamps of the Atchafalaya Basin, roughly a million acres of bayous, lakes, and wetlands that span upwards from the Gulf of Mexico for 140 miles into Louisiana, there’s one thing that hasn’t responded as it should to the rising waters: construction of Energy Transfer’s Bayou Bridge pipeline.

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.”

Meet the Money and People Fueling the Contested Bayou Bridge Pipeline

Read time: 6 mins
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.

Dakota Access Security Firm's Top Adviser Led Military Intelligence Efforts for 1992 LA Riots

Read time: 8 mins
James 'Spider' Marks

By Steve Horn and Curtis Waltman

Retired Major General James “Spider” Marks chairs the advisory board for TigerSwan, a private security firm hired by Energy Transfer Partners to help police protests of the Dakota Access pipeline — an approach for which Marks has shown vocal support.

DeSmog has found that Marks also headed up intelligence efforts for the task force which brought over 10,000 U.S. military troops to police the 1992 riots following the acquittal of Los Angeles Police Department members involved in beating Rodney King. In addition, Marks, a long-time military analyst for CNN, led intelligence-gathering efforts for the U.S. military’s 2003 “shock and awe” campaign in Iraq, which was dubbed “Operation Iraqi Liberation.”

In recent months, Marks has endorsed Dakota Access and its southern leg, the Bayou Bridge pipeline. He has shown this support by writing op-ed pieces published in various newspapers and on the website of a pro-Dakota Access coalition run by a PR firm funded by Energy Transfer Partners.

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