St. James Parish

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.” 

Opponents Ask Court to Stop Bayou Bridge Pipeline Construction in Louisiana Community During Ongoing Legal Battle

Read time: 8 mins
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 a state court to halt construction on the oil pipeline along its final 18 miles. This segment falls in an area known as the coastal zone and requires a special state permit.

The court previously ruled against the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for issuing a permit that did not follow state guidelines and consider if the project had adequate environmental and emergency response plans for the town of St. James in case of a pipeline failure.

Opponents thought the court’s order would bring a stop to construction but that hasn’t been the case. As a result, today’s petition asks for a pause in construction until all the permit’s conditions are met.

Bayou Bridge Pipeline Construction Proceeds in Louisiana Community Despite Invalid Permit Ruling

Read time: 5 mins
Bayou Bridge pipeline workers in St. James, Louisiana

Construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline has continued in and around the Louisiana town of St. James despite a judge’s ruling that a state agency wrongly issued a permit allowing this oil pipeline to be built without an emergency and evacuation plan for the vulnerable town. A follow-up judgment formalizing the initial ruling came on May 15.

Louisiana Court Says State Wrongly Issued Permit for Bayou Bridge Pipeline Through Vulnerable Town

Read time: 6 mins
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 permit to build the Bayou Bridge pipeline in the town of St. James. The judge’s decision, made on April 30, could halt construction of the final 18 miles of the pipeline, which is part of a network carrying fracked oil that begins with the Dakota Access pipeline.

A Death in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley Reinforces a Small Town’s Fears of Industry Impacts

Read time: 8 mins
Keith Hunter in St. James, Louisiana

Sixty-year-old Keith Hunter lived in St. James, Louisiana, for roughly 27 years, and during that time, he watched as the sugarcane farms gave way to oil storage tanks and as a railroad terminal was being built down the road, all visible from his front yard. Hunter was an outspoken critic of the industrialization of his neighborhood. And in a similar fashion as some of his neighbors, Hunter died on February 10 following a respiratory illness.

Pastor Leads Lawsuit Opposing Bayou Bridge Pipeline to Protect Louisiana Cancer Alley Community

Read time: 8 mins
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 action to prevent the Bayou Bridge pipeline from being built in his community, roughly 50 miles west of New Orleans. He is named as a plaintiff in a case filed by the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, petitioning the Parish Court to overturn the coastal permit that the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) gave Energy Transfer Partners, the company that built the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. 

The Bayou Bridge pipeline will be the last leg of the Dakota Access, carrying oil fracked in North Dakota to Louisiana. The final stretch of the project, if built, will span 162.5 miles from Lake Charles to St. James, cutting through the Atchafalaya Basin, a national heritage area and the country’s largest river swamp.

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