Protesters Resort To Tree-Sitting To Block Pipeline Construction

REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Environmental activists have resorted to camping atop trees in their latest attempt to block a pipeline from being built in southern Louisiana.

Construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline — a 163-mile pipeline that will stretch from Lake Charles to St. James, Louis. — is nearing completion. The project is an extension of pipeline that already extends from east Texas into Louisiana, and will transport up to 480,000 barrels of crude oil a day once completed.

However, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline has not come without controversy. Environmentalists — objecting to its construction through the Atchafalaya Basin, the country’s largest swamp — have taken extreme measures to stop its construction. Beyond their battles in the courtroom, activists have repeatedly put themselves in harm’s way by attaching their bodies to cement-filled barrels, cars and equipment in order to impede construction workers. (RELATED: Environmental Extremists Working To Stop Louisiana Pipeline)

Environmentalists are now tree-sitting in the path of the pipeline in their latest attempt to stop Bayou Bridge’s progress.

“It’s clear that neither the Louisiana state government, nor the court system, can be expected to protect us. When we can’t count on Governor Edwards to hold a corporate criminal accountable for its destruction, we have to take this into our own hands,” an anonymous activist stated to Bridge the Gulf, an environmental website.

Activists are lamenting over, what they believe to be, inaction by Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and local government in stopping the pipeline. L’eau Est La Vie — French for “water is life” — is one of the major protest organizations opposing the project in Louisiana.

These tree-sitters have been in the area for at least a week, according to construction and security teams who have been monitoring their activity.

“We are aware of tree sits that have been erected in the Atchafalaya Basin and the plans of those who have constructed them. If there are persons currently in any of the tree sits, we encourage them to come down and leave the area – not only because this is an active construction site, but because of the hot temperatures in the Basin this time of year,” Energy Transfer Partners spokeswoman Alexis Daniel said to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Any extended exposure could put people at a significant health risk.”

Energy Transfer Partners, an energy company based in Texas, is the operator and majority-owner of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. The company was also involved in the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“We have notified local law enforcement anyone in tree sits are trespassing on our right-of-way. We are working with law enforcement to ensure the safety of our workers and that of all others in the area. We hope for the protection of all involved that this situation can be quickly diffused,” Daniel continued.

Environmentalists have tried a number techniques to scuttle construction efforts.

Two activists drove near a construction site on Saturday where one of them tied himself onto the back of a vehicle. However, both of the protesters gave up after it got too hot outside.

Construction on the Bayou Bridge Pipeline is expected to be completed by October.

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