Louisiana residents’ calls for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline intensified today as groups again went to the Governor’s mansion and capitol office, continuing to call on the Governor to exercise his authority and ask the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement. “We are already bearing a burden of pollution that is too great,” said Pastor Harry Joseph of the HELP Association of St. James, Louisiana, the proposed end point of the pipeline. “Our communities are hurting.Our health has been damaged and many people are sick from too much pollution.”
The groups involved in today’s action, including the HELP Association, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, 350 Louisiana and BOLD Louisiana are highlighting the pipeline’s risks to the St. James community, site of a 12,558 gallon oil spill earlier this yearat the Plaines All American Pipeline Company in St. James Parish. The company reported as “unknown” the amount that went into ditches in the area. “The state of Louisiana endures spills and accidents from already existing pipelines,” said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “We cannot properly manage our current pipelines and infrastructure, and we have no business building more.”
At issue with the accident in St. James were factors that are repeated during accidents throughout the state, including failure by the state or the company to notify the neighboring community about the accident, lack of resolution regarding cleanup and a failure to account for the amount released into area ditches. “Nobody called us, we were never informed,” said Eve Butler of the H.E.L.P. Association.
Today’s action is the fourth in a series of events calling on Governor John Bel Edwards to request that the Army Corps of Engineers conduct an Environmental Impact Statement. The Governor has not replied to the request, instead repeating the pipeline company’s specious arguments, including that pipelines are safer than rail and truck transport. The Governor’s claim that this pipeline will be done right was dismissed by the groups today given the ongoing accidents, some of them fatal, in the oil industry.