Julie Dermansky

Primary tabs

Julie Dermansky's picture

Personal Information

Twitter URL
Profile Info
Julie Dermansky is a multimedia reporter and artist based in New Orleans. She is an affiliate scholar at Rutgers University’s Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights. Visit her website at www.jsdart.com.

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.

New Orleans Approves Natural Gas Power Plant Despite Environmental Racism and Climate Concerns

Opponents of Entergy's proposed natural gas power plant pack the March 8 New Orleans City Council meeting

Despite hearing over four hours of public comments mostly in opposition, New Orleans City Council recently approved construction of a $210 million natural gas power plant in a predominantly minority neighborhood. Entergy is proposing to build this massive investment in fossil fuel infrastructure in a city already plagued by the effects of climate change. 

Choosing a gas plant over renewable energy options flies in the face of the city’s own climate change plan and the mayor’s support for the Paris Climate Accord, said several of the plant’s opponents at the heated meeting when City Council ultimately voted to approve the plant.

Bayou Bridge Pipeline Opponents Say Louisiana Governor's Office Is Surveilling Them

Louisiana Bucket Brigade founder Anne Rolfes at a press conference protesting Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards' treatment of anti-pipeline activists.

Opponents of the Bayou Bridge pipeline accused Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards of meeting with representative of the oil and gas industry while refusing to meet with activists and communities affected by the pipeline’s construction. They further allege that the administration has instead placed them under surveillance, pointing to similar treatment of Dakota Access pipeline opponents in North Dakota in 2016. Their claims are based in part on emails and other public records released by the state.

The activists brought their grievances to the Democratic governor’s home and office on March 1, holding a press conference in front of the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge and then occupying the foyer to his office in the State Capitol for over an hour.

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.

Federal Judge Halts Bayou Bridge Pipeline Installation, But Photos Show Damage Already Inflicted

Jody Meche, crawfisher, viewing the Bayou Bridge pipeline construction damage to the Atchafalaya Basin

There was an eerie stillness along the route of the Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin the day after a federal judge halted work on the pipeline. A temporary injunction was granted two weeks after groups opposed to the pipeline had their say in court, giving Energy Transfer Partners enough time to clear a path through the *National Heritage Area.

U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick wrote that she was enjoining further work on the pipeline in the basin “in order to prevent further irreparable harm until this matter can be tried on the merits.” She will release her reasoning for ordering ETP to stop construction in the coming days.

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. 

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.

2017 in Photos: Capturing the Causes and Impacts of Climate Change

A dance troop marches past a Shell refinery in Norco, Louisiana's annual Christmas parade

The year 2017 was, in many ways, stormy. It brought more storms super-sized due to global warming and more people, including scientists, taking to the streets in response to the political climate.

This year for DeSmog I continued documenting a range of issues related to climate change, from extreme weather enhanced by it to the expanding industrial landscape contributing to it. 

Pruitt’s Plan to Debate Climate Science Paused as Science Confirms Human Link to Extreme Weather

Chairs floating in Hurricane Harvey floodwaters in Houston, Texas

The same week that a slew of new scientific reports confirmed just how much humans are changing the climate, and in turn, the rest of the planet, Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt’s plans for a “Red Team, Blue Team” debate of this very same science were put on hold.

The military-style exercise that would falsely pit the overwhelming majority of climate scientists against a handful of non-experts is an eight-year-old talking point of the notorious climate-denying think tank the Heartland Institute (which is likely not surprised by this development). Meanwhile, last week in New Orleans, several groups of prominent climate scientists shared their latest findings at the world's largest gathering of Earth and planetary scientists. The roughly 25,000 attendees of the American Geophysical Union annual meeting included scientific leaders from academia, government, and the private sector.