The Big Pipeline Fight Comes to Louisiana

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The Bayou Bridge Pipeline is a proposed 162 mile, 24 inch diameter pipeline that would carry crude oil from south of Lake Charles in Calcasieu Parish and terminate in St. James Parish. The pipeline will carry an estimated 280,000 barrels of oil per day through 11 southern Louisiana parishes and across eight watersheds including the Atchafalaya Basin. The estimated cost of the project is $670 million.

The purpose of the pipeline is to move crude oil that comes down from the Bakken oil field to a location on the Mississippi River for international shipment. This is part of the same pipeline that has generated controversy and strong resistance in North Dakota (the Dakota Access Pipeline) and is being constructed by the same company (Energy Transfer Partners).

The first and most obvious problem with the pipeline is that it represents a large investment in continued high rates of consumption of fossil fuels. Such projects continue to receive subsidies and require the sacrifice of natural assets belonging to all of us. The project as proposed will adversely impact natural resources, habitat for threatened and endangered species and air quality in communities near coastal refineries.

Of particular concern is the west to east crossing of the Atchafalaya Basin in which natural water flows go north to south. Canals and spoil piles associated with numerous pipelines installed across the Basin in the past have blocked natural water flows and have created dead zones and sediment infill that destroys aquatic ecosystems and converts wetlands to dry land. See “Atchafalaya Basin Forested Wetlands Under Siege Part 1” at

Then there is the issue of pipeline leaks. A Center for Biological Diversity study says that “Since 1986 pipeline accidents have spilled an average of 76,000 barrels per year or more than 3 million gallons. This is equivalent to 200 barrels every day.” You can see the study at Also see The industry says their pipelines are much better now but can we really count on one company to retain ownership and conduct the daily, weekly, monthly and annual operations and maintenance to assure that no leaks occur over decades of time.

There are numerous reasons to be cautious about construction of new oil pipelines. We encourage you to get involved, get informed and voice your opinion.

What You Can Do

Attend and voice your opinion at the public hearing on Thursday, January 12, 2017 beginning at 6:00 pm in the Oliver Pollock Room of the Galvez Building, 602 North 5th St, Baton Rouge, Louisiana70802.

OR submit written comments by Monday, Jan 16, 2017 by email to DEQ.PUBLICNOTICES@LA.GOV or by US Mail to LDEQ Public Participation Group, P.O. Box 4313, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70821-4313.

The notice of public hearing is at:

You can see the full project public notice at:

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