Julie Dermansky

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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.

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

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.

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

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.

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Company Behind Proposed Natural Gas Power Plant in New Orleans Tied to Astroturfing Campaign

Protesting Entergy's New Orleans natural gas power plant

Entergy New Orleans, the company that recently won approval to build a controversial $210 million natural gas power plant in the city, confirmed that actors were paid to show support for this project at public meetings. Though Entergy claims it was unaware of the situation, a public relations firm it hired had paid freelance actors to testify in favor of the project at public meetings. 

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

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.

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8 Years After BP Oil Spill, Sick Cleanup Workers Still Waiting for Day in Court

BP oil spill cleanup workers and supporters protesting outside federal court in Louisiana

On the eighth anniversary of the BP oil spill, Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré stood in front of the New Orleans Federal Court House and called “bullshit” on the court’s handling of claims made by those who participated in the cleanup efforts. 

Thousands of workers BP hired to clean up the spill that polluted the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 have claimed exposure to oil and the dispersant has made them sick and still have not had their day in court. “It’s a crying damn shame we’ve allowed this in America,” Honoré said.

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Landowners Question If Pipeline Companies Seizing Land to Export Oil and Gas Counts as ‘Public Good’

Hope Rosinski photographs Bayou Bridge pipeline construction on her land

Hope Rosinski kept watch over the construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline as one of its segments was installed on her land in Arcadia Parish, Louisiana. While she had signed an agreement allowing Bayou Bridge Pipeline LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, to use her property, she had little choice in the matter and she didn’t want the pipeline there. 

Like anyone along the route of proposed oil or gas pipelines, Rosinski was in a position where, had she not signed the agreement, her land would have been taken anyway by virtue of eminent domain — a right the government can assert to seize private property for public use. So she negotiated the best contract she could, which included a clause specifying that the company could not begin work until all its permits were in place. 

But with the crude oil export ban lifted and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports on the rise, landowners like Rosinski are starting to question whether or not giving up their land to serve these private aims qualifies as “public good.”

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Oil Spill Laps Shores During Chevron-Sponsored French Quarter Festival

On April 12, an oil spill in the Mississippi River brought noxious fumes to music lovers at the New Orleans French Quarter Festival. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates 4,200 gallons of *heavy fuel oil spilled when a cargo ship hit the Nashville Wharf. 

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Bayou Bridge Protesters Arrested as Louisiana Advances Bill Toughening Penalties for Pipeline Protests

Protester chained to a barrel in the road

On Thursday, April 5, opponents of the Bayou Bridge pipeline attempted to shut down its construction by blocking an industrial supply company’s facility in Iowa, Louisiana, just outside of Lake Charles on the same day a bill spelling out harsher penalties for pipeline protesters was advanced to committee during the Louisiana legislative session. 

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

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.

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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.

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