Three permitting agencies have held two public hearings about one Bayou Bridge. January’s joint Army Corps and LDEQ hearing hosted over four hundred concerned citizens, for five and a half hours. Last week’s LDNR hearing lasted six! Now these agencies must deny Bayou Bridge’s water and wetland permits.
The crude oil pipeline has no place in coastal Louisiana. No public need exists for the pipe. The oil is for export and profit. Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco, and Phillips 66 know this.
Despite continual claims from pipeline supporters about pipeline safety, reality persists. Just a day after LDNR’s hearing, a Phillips 66 pipeline in Paradis exploded during routine maintenance. Josh Helms of Thibodaux is presumed dead.
We also learned this past week about a neglected oil spill in the Atchafalaya Basin. Though the incident occurred in August, the operating company didn’t follow proper response protocol. Roughly half a year later, the wetlands remain soiled. First drill, then spill and kill.
Lobbyists like ex-Senator Landrieu continue to parrot stale rhetoric. She and industry groups have scrambled to submit letters to the editor. They’ve funneled tens of thousands of dollars into ads and websites. In a Hail Mary, they desperately claim the pipeline will benefit our priceless wetlands. It’s protection through destruction, like peace through war.
Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco, and Phillips 66 see their Bayou Bridge as any other pipe. They’ve riddled their permitting documents with typos, even creating disaster-response plans by copying and pasting from previous works. The Corps, LDEQ, and LDNR cannot approve these lazy permit applications.
We expect a decision from LDNR sometime next week. We’ll be following quite closely.
James Hartwell is GRN's Coastal Wetland Analyst.