Environmental groups have sued to stop the Bayou Bridge pipeline after it received construction permits and the green light to start. The construction will take a toll on the environment. This has affected local businesses who used to harvest large amounts of crawfish but now the traps yield dead crawfish.
The purpose of the pipeline is to deliver crude oil to a terminal in St. James Parish. The first phase of the project, which consists of a 30-inch pipeline from Nederland to Lake Charles.
The U.S. Army Corporation of Engineer’s decision to issue the permit for construction followed completion of an environmental assessment, review of its compliance with Section 408 of the Clean Water Act and feedback received during a public notice.
Construction must comply with provisions aimed at protecting nesting periods for birds. Builders of the pipeline also will have to survey the route for the presence of both active and inactive eagle nests.
Engineers had a permit issued in around mid-December and the people in the vicinity of the Atchafalaya Basin know of its uniqueness to the whole world. Part of nature provides subsistence for the Cajun people. The water quality is substantially affected.
Environmental groups are trying hard to block further construction by requesting the state court to force the company to turn over records to seize private property or obtain easements on property along the pipeline path. Surveillance records from a company have also been requested. The suit, called a writ of mandamus, was filed against the pipeline and its president, by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of Atchafalaya Basinkeeper.
Public purpose and the right to the state’s public laws are being asserted and become grounds for being subject to Public Records Law. The land that was once public will become for private profit usage with no oversight. The pipeline process could affect health, the natural environment, and people’s livelihoods. Multiple parties have a stake in this: from small business operators who harvest food, locals and those who profit.
To challenge the making of the pipeline for violations of environmental law is the starting ground for the attack on a corporation that is said to have a history of violations. The plaintiffs claim the permit granted violates the Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors Act.
Since the pipeline stretches beyond this region, other lawsuits are also being filed simultaneously. It could be seen as a tactic to deter or discourage the suit and pipeline from going forward, but they will remain persistent. This time, these people have had their land taken away from them and feel “bullied into giving up on their land.” They also feel the cause to be insincere and harmful. None of them want to be exploited even though these easements ran at the cost of $10 per easement.
Undoubtedly, more developments will be made in this case and more action will most likely be seen, as such cases tend to expand with the size of the project.
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