Late last night, February 27, U.S. District Court Judge Shelly Dick upheld her preliminary injunction against the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. The injunction has halted construction of the project throughout the Atchafalaya Basin. Before permits were issued, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline project underwent a comprehensive review process during which federal, state, and local officials analyzed the project for potential impacts. The pipeline’s developers – and regulators – paid particular attention to sensitive environmental resources such as the Atchafalaya Basin, incorporating added precautions to ensure that construction would result in no long-term adverse effects to Louisiana’s wetlands.
Numerous regulatory approvals underscore the extensive planning conducted by Bayou Bridge. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed two environmental assessments, each of which concluded that the project would result in no significant impacts to the Atchafalaya Basin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources each reached similar conclusions and approved the Bayou Bridge Pipeline for construction.
According to Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, one of the organizations that brought the suit, there are 17 old-growth cypress trees that may be affected by the project’s current route, which represents 0.003% of old-growth cypress trees in the Basin. Further, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper further argues that 300 acres of swamp in the Basin would be temporarily impacted by construction. That is just 0.03% of the total swamp in the Basin.
Below is a statement you can attribute to me, Craig Stevens, spokesman for the GAIN Coalition. Also, you can follow us on Twitter @GAINNowAmerica.
“Judge Dick’s unfortunate ruling continues the demonstrable harm to the project, to the communities in which construction had already begun, and to local workers. Halting construction will delay the creation of as many as 2,500 construction jobs in the region, costing millions of dollars a month to the local economy. By citing past projects that were permitted to cross the Basin, Judge Dick has ignored the development of technology in the energy transportation industry as well as the extensive measures this project will undertake to ensure the safe construction and operation of the pipeline. Private investors in our nation’s infrastructure must believe in our regulatory process or capital investment is sure to dry up sending shockwaves throughout our nation’s economy. This project followed the letter of the law in its permit application process, was approved by the appropriate agencies, and should be allowed to proceed without further delay.”