Postcards from Cancer Alley: 12/6/17

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By Anne Rolfes, Founding Director

The proposed route of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline is 162 miles across south Louisiana, threatening drinking water, the Atchafalaya Basin and an historic African American community in St. James Parish. The company behind this bad idea, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), and the entire oil industry have an accident problem (look at this ten year history of refinery accidents in Louisiana).

To hear Kelcey Warren, CEO of ETP tell it, the fact that ETP’s pipelines are made of steel is a cure-all that would prevent pipeline spills (watch the first minute of this interview).  His explanation defies logic; surely his pipelines that have already polluted drinking water were also made of steel? Energy Transfer Partners and its subsidiaries had 69 accidents in 2015 and 2016. The company has polluted drinking water along the East Coast and in Texas. And construction along the Rover Pipeline route is rife with accidents, including a 2 million gallon spill of drilling fluid into wetlands in Ohio.

Contrast Kelcey Warren’s false assurances with this 12 second clip from You Tube, in which he acknowledges that the oil industry is inherently dangerous. 

“Remember what we do, is we move a very volatile product at a high pressure, and I don’t care who you are. When you do that, accidents do happen.”


The oil industry is dangerous, and it’s a reason to turn from this industry. The danger is compounded by the fact that profits, not safety, are the guiding principle. Here’s what an oil field worker told me: “When I showed up they said safety guys don’t last long around here. They don’t like safety guys.”

I hear this sentiment expressed again and again by the oilfield workers, men who are in the firing line of accidents and pollution.

Bottom line: a bumbling, fumbling company like Energy Transfer Partners with such a poor safety record has no place in the state of Louisiana, or anywhere. 


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