Concerned activists forget restoration takes time, resources, oversight

According to a recent article in The Advocate, the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper and other environmental groups have filed a claim against the Bayou Bridge Pipeline stating concerns that the pipeline is causing environmental hazards to waterways in the Atchafalaya Basin.

Dean Wilson, the founder and director of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, has made a name for himself by taking journalists and news outlets on tours of the Basin, pointing out areas where he alleges pipeline officials have failed to remediate. Opponents like Mr. Wilson have presented no sound evidence that the images and “hydrologic impacts” have anything to do with the pipeline’s construction.

What opponents seem to forget is the dedicated time and resources it takes to restore land to its original state after construction. A strategic and thorough restoration process is necessary and the Bayou Bridge Pipeline was just completed in March of this year, not leaving much time for this process.

Not only are there environmental considerations to restoration, career scientists and experts must be present in the process to ensure environmental integrity and be sure that no adverse effects are threatening native species. Most importantly, there are state and federal regulators – including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, among others – providing direct oversight to ensure restoration is completed to pre-construction standards, as promised by the pipeline’s owners. Additionally, 88% of the pipeline – including through the entirety of the Basin – was installed along pre-existing infrastructure easements to minimize the need for breaking new ground.

On its website, Energy Transfer mentions that landowners along the 163-mile route have been paid more than $71 million for easements and the loss of crops. From the beginning, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline has been built with a protective eye to the Louisiana wetlands and that’s no different now.