Over the past several weeks, activists affiliated with L’eau Est La Vie Camp and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade have participated in a number of protests at Bayou Bridge construction sites. These protests have included unlawful tactics, including blocking access roads and attaching people to construction equipment in an effort to stymy construction of the pipeline. These actions continue to put both protesters and pipeline workers at risk, endangering the wellbeing of tradesmen and women and compromising the safety of construction sites. This past weekend, one protester went so far as to shackle himself to a vehicle for several hours, and ultimately surrendered to police due to high temperatures and dehydration.
These strategies are not just illegal; they are unsafe and put protestors, workers, and safety officials in danger. In fact, local groups, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper and the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association-West, issued a statement yesterday disowning the illegal protest actions and encouraging cooperation across the community. These organizations deeply care about the future health of the Basin – their very livelihood depends on it, in the case of the crawfishermen. But they do not believe breaking the law is the best way to get the point across. An excerpt from the statement reads:
Actions like those which have occurred in the past two weeks conflict with our mission to protect the Basin with community support. In a community with limited persons and resources, we rely on one another to look out for this incredible ecosystem. We do not advance tactics or positions that will harm the future collaborative efforts of folks within the community or our partner groups therein.
The courts have reaffirmed the legality of Bayou Bridge and have found that the pipeline does has no long-term environmental impact. The project underwent rigorous review by federal, state, and local regulatory officials, who concluded that construction and operation of Bayou Bridge would not result in any long-term impacts to the Basin or Louisiana’s other natural habitats.
We encourage protests to remain within the parameters outlined by Louisiana state law in effort to keep everyone safe, pipeline workers and protesters alike. Ultimately, the preservation of our environment and the development of energy infrastructure are not mutually exclusive goals – which is why we support properly permitted infrastructure projects such as the Bayou Bridge Pipeline.