Public hearing scheduled to discuss Bayou Bridge Pipeline

Public hearing scheduled to discuss Bayou Bridge Pipeline

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - As President Donald Trump works to advance the Dakota Access Pipeline, another pipeline could be on the way that could affect the Atchafalaya Basin.

"The same companies that are having the trouble building that pipeline in the Dakotas are trying to build this last stretch of pipeline that would be connected ultimately all the way up," said Bert Cappel, who opposes the pipeline.

And that last stretch is the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. It would be 163 miles long and run from Lake Charles to St. James Parish, which sparks concern about how the pipeline could adversely affect the environment.

"There's a lot to worry about because this proposed pipeline would be out in the middle of nowhere and not a lot of eyes are going to be on it," said Cappel.

And it would also run through the largest swamp in the United States.

"The Atchafalaya is full of trees and roots and vegetation and wildlife, so it will affect not just the people of Louisiana, but the huntsman, the fisherman, the people that get out their swamp and make their living in the swamp," said Cappel.

Environmentalists say the proposed pipeline could threaten the water supply for over 300,000 people. This is something Cameron Parish resident Mary Woosley worries about.

"I'm very concerned that my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren will be able to have fresh, clean water to drink and anybody who reads about future events knows that water - clean, drinkable, bathable water will become one of the biggest commodities," said Woosley.

However, Griffin Briggs, the vice president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association says the welfare of our habitat is a priority.

"Fifty percent of the fuel that powers this nation comes through that pipeline. Pipelines are a part of life in an energy producing state and yes we need to make sure we're operating in the safest way possible," he said in an article in the Times-Picayune.

But how oil should be transported without this pipeline ultimately poses new questions - with debatable answers.

"The bigger situation - is oil even necessary? Are there alternative forms of fuel? Should we even be messing with oil at this point?" said Cappel.

The Department of Natural Resources will hold a public hearing to discuss this pipeline in Napoleonville, Feb. 8..

The hearing will be at the Assumption Parish Community Center and will start at 6 p.m.

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