For immediate release
October 10, 2017
Contact: Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, (504) 452-4909
Press conference: 11:30 am, 1001 Capitol Access Road, Baton Rouge, LA
(Baton Rouge) Water protectors from throughout Louisiana rallied today at the Louisiana Governor’s mansion to request that Governor John Bel Edwards acknowledge and assent to ongoing requests for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. The request for an EIS comes as Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline’s parent company, has polluted water and had numerous accidents at its pipeline projects around the country. The Governor has ignored all requests for an EIS. “My prayer is that the Governor can look at the situation the community is facing – and not just how much money the state is making,” said Pastor Harry Joseph from St. James Parish, the proposed end point of the pipeline. “We should pause and understand what the full extent of the impacts will be. Why is there such a hurry?”
Residents from St. James Parish and other impacted locations met with Matthew Block, the Governor’s chief legal counsel, in July and made the request for an EIS. Mr. Block has never replied to follow up calls and e-mails since the meeting. Private citizens have made hundreds of calls and written letters since that time, and on September 20th, five non-profit organizations repeated the request in writing. There has been no reply from the Governor.
The groups are now seeking information about the Governor and the governor’s staff’s contacts with Bayou Bridge Pipeline Company and its affiliates. The request was filed Friday, October 6th as a Public Records Request with Matthew Block, who is also the Governor’s custodian of records. “The Governor supposedly cares about ordinary people who live in Louisiana, but in this case he has turned his back on us. His staff won’t even talk with us,” said Anne Rolfes, Founding Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “We have had no replies to e mails, phone calls or letters. It made us wonder how often he has been in touch with the oil industry, and that’s why we filed a public records request last week.”
An Environmental Impact Statement is considered critical by the groups hosting today’s action given the pipeline’s path through sensitive areas, including the Atchafalaya Basin and Bayou LaFourche. The latter provides drinking water for 300,000 people. The pipeline’s end point in St. James Parish would further the pollution burden on the community there, including the historic African American neighborhood of Freetown.
For more information about Energy Transfer Partners’ accidents around the country, please visit here.