A pipeline in southern Louisiana is nearing completion, despite vehement opposition — and vandalism — from environmental opponents.
Barring any unexpected setbacks, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline is expected to be finished sometime in October. Lawyers for Bayou Bridge Pipeline LLC, in a court filing on June 27, stated that almost 76 percent of construction has been completed.
Bayou Bridge Pipeline is an 163-mile crude oil pipeline that will run through southern Louisiana. The project is actually an addition to Bayou Bridge that already operates from Texas to Lake Charles, Louisiana. Upon completion, the new pipeline will run from Lake Charles to St. James, Louisiana, and deliver up to 480,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Energy Transfer Partners are the operators and majority owners of the pipeline.
Controversy stems from the fact that Bayou Bride runs along the Atchafalaya Basin, the biggest river swamp in the country. Environmental groups such as Sierra Club, EarthJustice, Waterkeeper Alliance and others have taken to the judicial system to halt the pipeline’s progress.
Their courtroom efforts, so far, have been without much success. A federal judge in February, ruling in favor of environmental groups, halted construction of Bayou Bridge. However, this order was overturned by an appeals court less than month later. These groups have failed at filing different lawsuits to overturn government approval of the pipeline.
With the judicial branch not delivering the victories they were hoping for, many activists have turned to vandalism to achieve their goals. Throughout 2018, numerous protesters have damaged equipment and physically gotten in the way of workers, halting construction until local law enforcement is able to intervene. Many of these protesters have implemented a strategy of chaining themselves to equipment or heavyweight barrels, making it difficult for police to quickly, and safely, remove them from the area. (RELATED: Environmental Extremists Working To Stop Louisiana Pipeline)
Four individuals were arrested Tuesday morning for attaching themselves to pipeline equipment in Iberville Parish. Police were not able to promptly apprehend one protester who was attached to a piece of equipment with a lockbox. The protester evidently attempted to force police to damage construction equipment in order to safely remove him. However, Iberville Sheriff Brett Stassi confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation that law enforcement was eventually able to remove the person without damaging any equipment or causing bodily harm.
As protests on the ground continue, so do the courtroom battles. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is currently weighing whether the Bayou Bridge Pipeline can lawfully be built through the Atchafalaya Basin.
Activists have vowed to continue on with their campaign. Upon news that the pipeline was near completion, Earther, an environmentalist outlet, concluded in a report: “The people hoping to stop it won’t give up easily.”
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