Congressman: Bayou Bridge Pipeline approved - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

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Congressman: Bayou Bridge Pipeline approved

(Source: KPLC) (Source: KPLC)
LOUISIANA (KPLC) -

The Army Corps of Engineers plans to issue the necessary permits for the Bayou Bridge pipeline, according to a news release from the office of Congressman Clay Higgins.

The news release said Colonel Michael Clancy, of the Army Corps of Engineers, announced Thursday that the New Orleans District has concluded its environmental assessment and will issue necessary permits to Bayou Bridge Pipeline, LLC.

The 162-mile pipeline will begin in Lake Charles and connect to a terminal in St. James, "paralleling existing infrastructure and utilities across the Atchafalaya Basin."

Higgins' office says the pipeline is a $750 million investment that is estimated to generate $17.6 million in sales tax during construction and $1.8 million annually in tax revenue to the state. It is expected to create 2,500 direct and indirect jobs and will employ a Louisiana company for the manufacturing of the pipes.

The planned pipeline has been the subject of controversy, with advocates protesting its construction.

Congressman Higgins:

“Bayou Bridge is part of our efforts to bring new jobs and economic growth to South Louisiana. The oil and gas and petrochemical industry remains the cornerstone of our state’s economy, and we’re working to unleash our energy potential. This project provides critical pipeline infrastructure for refiners and producers across the state. Bayou Bridge will create thousands of jobs for Louisiana families. Army Corps of Engineers Commander Colonel Clancy and I have cultivated an ‘Army strong’ professional relationship. We’re determined to work together, identify obstacles, and overcome the bureaucracies that have restricted permit approval for major projects in the past. My Congressional staff and I will continue to attack, one battle at a time. Getting Bayou Bridge rolling is major... but we’re not done.”

On Friday, members of the environmental advocacy collective Stop Energy Transfer Partner's Coalition released the following statement in response to the permit approval:

Yesterday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted permits to Bayou Bridge, LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, to construct a 162.5-mile crude oil pipeline from Lake Charles to St. James, Louisiana. The Army Corps of Engineers refused to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement for the project, despite pleas for such a study from communities directly impacted by the pipeline.

In response to the Bayou Bridge permit approvals, leaders of organizations in the Stop Energy Transfer Partners Coalition released the following statements:

Cherri Foytlin of Bold Louisiana said: “To be honest, my hopes were never with the state and federal agencies who have consistently proven their lack of vision and scarcity of protection for the people and waters of this great state. The idea that this company, Energy Transfer Partners, who has destroyed land and water all over the United States, who carry the designation of “worst spill record,” who has created and maintained space for human rights abuses upon peaceful people - that they would be allowed to endanger over 700 of our waterways for their own profit is not only inconceivable, but proof of a moral bankruptcy within our systems of environmental protections. Yet, this is where we are. And while I am saddened by the news, I am equally sure that we will stand together as the mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers, to peacefully endeavor to right the wrong of these misguided and foolish permittings.”

Monique Verdin, United Houma Nation Tribal Councilmember said: "It's heartbreaking, but not surprising, that the Army Corps of Engineers would approve ANOTHER pipeline to be rammed through our already over exploited and fragile south Louisiana land and waters. 80,000 plus miles of pipelines crisscross our state and all those promises of jobs and progress, over the decades, have created places we call Cancer Alley and a state with some of the highest poverty in the nation. The Houma Nation and all those south of the proposed Bayou Bridge pipeline route deserve the right to clean water for drinking, for bathing, for fishing, for life. We know the risks and Energy Transfer Partners has got the track record for us to know the gamble is not worth it."

Anne Rolfes of Louisiana Bucket Brigade said: “We've opposed this project because Energy Transfer Partners has a terrible track record. This company has already polluted drinking water around the country, and is now a threat to our drinking water and our Atchafalaya Basin. The pipeline will ram through St. James Parish, a place already burdened by too much pollution. Why would we allow a company like ETP to come to Louisiana? We can do better than this. Our resistance will be peaceful. We will meet this pipeline with prayer. We are nonviolent. We are mothers, grandmothers, teachers and artists. We should be treated as the peaceful people that we are as this goes forward. ETP also has a track record of violence, and we don't need it in Louisiana.”

Alicia Cooke of 350 New Orleans said: “As a regulatory agency, if you look at ETP's safety record, you have absolutely no cover to assert that this pipeline does not pose a threat to environmental quality in Louisiana. The state has an obligation to explore better economic opportunities for Louisianans that don't put our drinking water at risk or destroy our wetlands. The regulators of the state of Louisiana had a chance here to make substantive change to "business as usual", to put citizens over corporations - instead, they failed us. But ETP has not yet won, nor will they win. Together we are powerful, and together we will continue our peaceful, prayerful resistance.”

Dallas Goldtooth of Indigenous Environmental Network said: “If Energy Transfer Partners wants to provoke a giant, then that's what they will get. Landowners, impacted communities, indigenous peoples and environmental groups have made their stance clear; for the benefit of the water, the land and Gulf Coast communities this dirty Bayou Bridge pipeline cannot be built. As we stood against DAPL and demand to keep fossil fuels in the ground, we stand against Bayou Bridge.”

Ethan Buckner of Earthworks said: “From North Dakota to Pennsylvania, Texas to Louisiana, Energy Transfer Partners has remained steadfast in its commitment to steamroll communities living, working and praying along the path of their proposed pipelines. Yesterday’s permit approval isn’t a surprise, but it is a disappointment. ETP has failed to adequately address the concerns of those whose livelihoods it stands to destroy. The Army Corps may grant a permit, but our communities will not grant permission.”

Brant Olson of Oil Change International said: "Plowing forward blindly to build this risky pipeline without even examining its environmental or climate impacts shows that this project isn't for Louisiana – it's for Wall Street. Unscrupulous investors and banks stand to make millions while our most under-resourced communities and the global climate pay the price. Responsible lenders should follow the lead of those already backing away from ETP and its reckless pipelines.”

Kelly Martin of Sierra Club said: “The Trump Administration is once again operating with reckless abandonment in its pursuit to put corporate polluters’ profits above all else. In their attempt to force this pipeline on the people of Louisiana, communities and families will face further threats of polluted air and water, the threat of explosions, and spills. But the people are not finished fighting this project. We will continue to explore every avenue possible to stop this project from moving forward.”

Karen Feridun of Berks Gas Truth (a PA group fighting ETP’s Mariner East 2 pipeline) said: “Energy Transfer Partners has laid waste to community after community in Pennsylvania and Ohio. A month ago, we learned that the company had violated its permit by using horizontal directional drilling in my county where it was not permitted. When the drilling caused yet another spill, the company didn’t report it. How long are regulators going to enable bad actors? The Army Corps should reverse its decision. We will fight until they do.”

Diana Best of Greenpeace USA said: “Greenpeace is proud to stand in solidarity with communities and local leadership opposing Energy Transfer Partners’ proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline. We collectively know that these pipelines leak, they spill, they explode, and they put drinking water, our climate, and the health and safety of communities at risk. They undermine Indigenous sovereignty and threaten human rights. This company has thrown everything they’ve got at trying to silence opposition to their controversial projects with intimidation tactics, including hiring unethical private security firms like TigerSwan, filing dubious lawsuits, and encouraging violent and dehumanizing treatment of indigenous communities and their allies. But we know that this movement will not be silenced. Our response: We will only grow louder!”

Kendall Mackey of 350.org said: "The Army Corps and Energy Transfer Partners should expect resistance. Bayou Bridge is another dangerous pipeline from a company that's shown complete disregard for Indigenous rights, the land and water, and our climate. Louisianans are already living on the frontlines of the climate crisis and the fence-lines of the fossil fuel industry's destruction. A thorough environmental impact statement would've proved what we already know -- that Bayou Bridge goes against everything we should be doing to protect our future." 

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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