JEFF DAVIS PARISH, LA (KPLC) - As many as eleven Bayou Bridge Pipeline protesters were ticketed Wednesday in Jeff Davis Parish. Sheriff's deputies say the group was on private property and cited for trespassing.
Chief Deputy Chris Ivey says they were on private property, off Mallet Road, without permission...
"When we walked out to where the equipment was and explained to them that they were trespassing, they said they had the land owner's permission. Well, I told them the land owner had contacted us and was on his way there and he wanted all of them to be arrested on site," said Ivey.
Ivey says since the protesters left when ordered, they were given tickets instead of being arrested. The area is down a road that becomes private. Ivey says safety is the concern and that someone could get hurt.
"If you've been around any of these bulldozers and track hoes that they use to dig trenches with, and that operators moving, all the other workers out there have on lime green or orange reflective vests and hard hats and steel toed safety boots, well some of these protesters had on flip flops and tee shirts. They're wandering around on this work site," said Ivey.
Ivey says the protesters were from out of state. He says though citations issued this time are misdemeanors he says after August 1st such behavior could bring felony charges.
"They've included pipelines. So if they stop the workers from doing their job or get in the way of them completing the job on these pipelines they could be charged with a felony," He said.
Ivey says this week protesters also spray painted heavy equipment at another location.
Ivey says protesters are okay if they follow the law by remaining on public right-of-way and such.
A spokesman for the protesters who call themselves "water protectors," issued the following response.
"We are here to protect our water and bayous, and that includes Bayou Chene. For 15 years, Energy Transfer Partners Pipelines, ones exactly like the Bayou Bridge, have leaked on average of once every 11 Days. Further, their campaign of 'for Louisiana, by Louisiana,' is a lie. This is an export pipeline being built by mostly out-of-state workers - and they have stolen Louisiana land from landowners through the use of eminent domain to do it. We take all the risk, they get all the gain. Right is right, wrong is wrong, a lie is a lie - and nothing will stop us from being heard," said Cherri Foytlin who describes herself as a L'eau Est La Vie (Water is Life) Camp representative.
We were not able to reach the Energy Transfer Partners, but their web site states their position on various issues and concerns that have come up.