Anti-energy protesters escalating tactics, recent arrests

InsideSources published an article today on the escalating protests at Bayou Bridge construction sites. Activists have turned to “kayaktivism,” tree sits, and other unlawful, risky tactics to delay construction. These intensified protests come as the pipeline nears its expected October completion. A number of protesters have been arrested over the past few weeks since a new Louisiana state law was enacted on August 1. InsideSources describes the new law, writing:

On August 1, a Louisiana state law raised the stakes for trespassing on a “critical infrastructure” area, changing the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony. It further classifies pipelines and pipeline construction areas as such sites. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company building the Bayou Bridge pipeline, says that it did not lobby for the law change, but appreciates the legislature’s efforts to support the industry.

Karen Savage, an environmental journalist, was arrested with several other protesters last weekend under the new law. However, the protesters claim they were on private property and had the landowner’s permission to be present. Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, has stated the protesters were trespassing. ETP spokeswoman Alexis Daniel is quoted, saying:

Additionally, any entry on our right-of-way by those not associated with our project are trespassing. These situations are dealt with by local law enforcement.

According to St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office arrest records, only one of the four protesters arrested last weekend was actually from Louisiana. The others traveled from Oregon, New York, and Mississippi. This comes as somewhat of a surprise considering the resistance groups have claimed to be fighting for their home and neighbors in nearby St. James Parish, as well as making attempts to meet with the Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.

Louisianians for Energy advises protesters to consider their safety and the safety of pipeline workers and law enforcement before participating in unlawful protests. We look forward to the safe completion of Bayou Bridge and its role in fueling Louisiana’s energy needs!